As Fracking Boom Hits Ohio, Deceptive Industry Practices Squeeze Landowners
Check out AlterNet’s new special coverage territory for Fracking.
Ohio is a latest state strike by fracking mania. The process, that requires pulling millions of gallons of water, silt and industrial chemicals into shale wells to detonate stone and pull out oil and gas, took off after a find of large healthy gas deposits in a Utica shale underlying eastern Ohio final July.
Governor John Kasich sent a summary that Ohio was open for business, essay to appetite association CEOs around a country, mouth-watering them to partner with a state to make fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, a vital member of his mercantile plan. Until final year, there were usually a few wells handling in Ohio. There are now 40, and a governor’s orator pronounced subsequent year there could be 5 times as many.
Kasich says environmental protections and regulations are critical to him, though a riot so distant has meant people and a sourroundings have suffered. Not usually has a process been linked to earthquakes and water contamination in a state, though a industry’s false leasing practices are increasingly causing alarm among Ohioans.
Early final October, Cunningham Energy, a West Virginia-based oil and gas producer, hosted a leasing open residence during Ohio University, and More Welch, an Athens county resident, went to scrutinise about what it would meant to sell his vegetable rights. Cunningham deputy Drake Stevens available Welch to record a conversation, that was after supposing to EcoWatch, an environmental media non-profit. The audio of a interaction, and the transcription of a conversation, reveals Cunningham member dubious Welch about a chemicals used in a technique and a terms of a lease, and quoting him a vastly under-market land price.
When Welch asks either a association uses chemicals in a process, Stevens replies, “We don’t put any chemicals down in a ground. We usually use regular, uninformed water.” Another deputy who identifies himself merely as John and says he does a negotiating, after backtracks and asserts that they use “sand and H2O with a domicile chemicals” like “Dawn, uh, dishwashing detergent.”
As he walks by a lease, Stevens implies to Welch that a landowner has a choice as to either to replenish a franchise after a initial five-year term. “I trust if we don’t wish to have a choice to recover we can usually do a customary five-year lease,” Stevens says. The tangible franchise supposing to Welch states a opposite. It stipulates that renewing a franchise is Cunningham’s prerogative, that a landowner has no contend in it.
Finally, when Welch asks what a association will compensate per acre, Drake quotes him $200, dramatically reduction than marketplace value, that is between $2,500 and $3,500 an acre, according to Russell Chamberlain, a genuine estate attorney and owners of Athens Real Estate Company in Athens, Ohio. Cunningham Energy says a cost per hactare it offers depends on plcae and varies from $1 to $2,500.
When asked to respond to a essence of Welch’s audio, Joe Blackhurst, a land administrator during Cunningham, who spoke with Welch during a open house, and whose name is on a franchise supposing to him, said, “I don’t trust a reps knew they were being recorded, nor did they give accede to be recorded.” In a recording Stevens does give Welch pithy accede to fasten a conversation. Blackhurst went on to say, “Besides, what they [the Cunningham representatives] pronounced is true. The chemicals we use are ordinarily found in common domicile cleaners underneath your cabinet.”
The brew of chemicals found in Dawn differs from those used in fracking fluid. Though usually a tiny fragment of a glass is stoical of chemicals, when millions of gallons of H2O are used, it still means hundreds of gallons of chemicals are bloody into a ground, according to a report on a fracking technique by a New York City Department of Environmental Protection.