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June 8th, 2012 By Hannah McCartney | News | Posted In: News, Environment

Watershed Conservancy District Stops Water Sales to Frackers

Lack of information, understanding of industry spurs halt

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Ohio environmentalists and conservationists won a small victory in the fracking industry today when Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District decided to halt all water sales from Ohio's largest contained watershed to drillers in the oil and gas industry.

Environmental groups have expressed concern that the watershed's water supply could be sold for use in fracking, a fairly new drilling technique in which thousands of gallons of chemical-laden water are shot into the earth in order to fracture shale and free natural oil and gas. Critics of the process say more research is needed on the technique to fully understand fracking's long- and short-term environmental and economic effects.

(Read CityBeat's June 6 cover story, "Boom, Bust or Both?" about Ohio's fracking industry, here.)

The decision to postpone the sales will be held until data is received in a water-availability study that's currently underway. Pending analysis of the study's results, MWCD plans to update its water supply policy to help deal with interested clients in the future.

“We believe strongly that it is in the best interest of the public we serve and the conservancy district to not entertain any water supply requests until this study has been completed and the MWCD has had an opportunity to update its water supply policy for review, public discussion and consideration of the MWCD Board of Directors,”said John M. Hoopingarner, MWCD executive director/secretary in a press release.

The MWCD will honor its preexisting agreement to provide Gulfport Energy Co. with 11 million gallons of water from Clendening Lake in Harrison County.

 
 
 
 
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