Fracking the Ohio River

By: Carley Posey

Since 2014, the state legislature has been mulling over the idea of fracking underneath the Ohio River. In December they finally passed the motion to do so, but many residents of the state are not happy and it could really destroy our environment. The decision to so is said to possibly bring millions of dollars into the state, but at what cost?

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Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth and using high pressure water to remove the gas under the earth’s surface. While the advantages of fracking are that you are able to get gas and oil from deep in the earth that other methods may not be able to reach, the controversy and hatred for it see to outweigh the good.

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Sign at a anti-fracking protest.

The worries are that it uses so much water that once used becomes contaminated. Environmentalists worry about the possible cancer causing chemicals leaking out and contaminating even more water in the form of groundwater sent out into the nearest town. The usage of water is also a major concern, as it can take between 1-8 million gallons of water to do one fracking job.

When West Virginia legislature gave the okay to drill under the Ohio River they were told they could make money and would get paid per acre from the companies involved. Right now 12 miles of the river would be affected, but as many as 9 more are under discussion.

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The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition is just one of the groups fighting the ruling. Their biggest concern is the disposal of the waste from fracking and how they will get the supplies down the river on barges. They don’t want anything or anyone to be contaminated, and it seems as though there is a very real possibility it could happen at some point.

While other groups like the Wheeling Water Warriors who have taken to sending around a petition against the Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. The Ohio River runs into the Mississippi though so this fracking and the potential of contamination could affect more than just West Virginia. The water from the Ohio River runs straight down to the Gulf of Mexico. It would be a shame for the beautiful Ohio River to be lined with water trucks and rigs.

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The Ohio River during summer.


5 thoughts on “Fracking the Ohio River

  1. Fracking is such a controversial topic, I’ve heard good and bad about the process. I agree with you that the bad controversy and hatred, as well as the potential negative effects, outweigh the good. I think the only way to stop this or slow this process down is find alternative sources of energy or ways to use less energy. Until then, I think this will continue to be a source of controversy. I thought this post was very informative, I didn’t think of the Mississippi River being at harm. Contaminating the Ohio River and the Mississippi River could have detrimental effects on the economy.


  2. I’ve worked on multiple drill sites, clean water ponds, back flow ponds, refineries and I can say from personal experience that back flow water is the most disgusting shit I have ever encountered in this world. In case you don’t know, back flow is the water that comes back up from below the ground after it has been mixed with the tracking sand to crack gas deposits. It is thought to be carcinogenic and it smells like nothing else I have ever come across, but could be compared to rotting road kill mixed with motor oil. It is the consistency of oil and mud and impossible to get out of clothes. I was in charge of filtering and pumping it to a cleaner pond where it would be shipped by truck to undergo further cleaning, and unfortunately I got covered in it. It is extremely hard to describe to you how unpleasant of an experience it was, but I can say without a doubt that they better be doing something magical to that concoction of death before it goes back into my drinking water. I can’t fathom how they could possibly make that safe again without breaking it down to its elements and then recombining the Hydrogen and Oxygen. Even if they do get it clean the process to do so just in transportation is so risky right now that I’m surprised there hasn’t been a major spill covered by the news yet. Overall I know that this has to happen to meet energy needs, but there has to be a helluva lot more regulation before I say it’s anywhere near safe.


  3. Ah! Fracking gets me so worked up! The fact that it’s all for profit drives me insane. So many issues go along with this process. Where do we draw the line? It was just discovered that Oklahoma has had more earthquakes than California mainly because of fracking! How nuts?! I agree with the comments above. Fracking is a controversial issue. The process bring much wealth and jobs to the state, but is it worth polluting our drinking water, the air we breathe, the wildlife and recreation? Noway Jose…


  4. Fracking is a hot button issue here and in other oil and natural gas rich states. The state needs to make strides to protect the residents from contaminated drinking water. The Elk River spill was a prime example of what can happen when water is contaminated. While these resources are necessary they provide more risks then rewards. Citizens need to take a stand against fracking.


  5. I wrote about fracking this week too, but we definitely took different angles since yours was about the Ohio River and mine was about its effects on National Parks. I like the way you use a lot of facts about the groups fighting against it and what bills have been passing because those are important. Fracking has so many consequences and I didn’t realize cancer was once of them. Somehow I’m not surprised if it is.


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