Go Ahead, Drink the Water

In Columbus, Ohio The Plain Dealer reports an all-new low for oil and gas drilling in 2010. But with the discovery and development of shale formations in the resource-rich Utica and Marcellus shale plays in eastern Ohio, those numbers are expected to skyrocket. Predictions look so good; companies are racing to snatch up land for new leases.

While this boom has been sweeping cross Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia for the last several years, Ohio hasn't yet joined the club.

Scott Zody, the assistant director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resource (ODNR) recently publically predicted that shale drilling would double or triple in 2012 and then repeat itself in 2013.

Zody said Ohio "is ahead of the curve from a regulatory standpoint" thanks to a recent rewrite of oil and gas drilling laws passed earlier this year, some environmental groups are skeptical.

"We are concerned that Ohio is not yet prepared," said Ellen Mee, director of environmental health policy for the Ohio Environmental Council. "It will require the use of more fresh water, more toxic chemicals used in the fracking process, more toxic air emissions, more toxic waste disposal, more heavy truck traffic and more industrial-scale development."

While I appreciate that Columbus is hesitant, I have yet to hear a scientific argument as to why. Marcellus alone has shown significant success in catapulting infrastructure, revenue and prosperity to those counties who do allow drilling.

Seismic technologies such as MicroSeismics' allow operators to monitor fracing in real-time, using large stethoscope-type instruments that virtually sit on the chest of the reservoir. This technology provides critical insight to help frac without incident or environmental harm.

Further, as companies reveal their (non-toxic) fracing fluid recipes -whether by law or on their own, it's becoming more and more apparent we have nothing to fear. Still not convinced? Ask the Halliburton exec who recently drank the fluid.

These shale formations and their productive drilling are critical to our energy needs as a nation. Local work is critical to the indigenous economies. I hope Ohio will take the lead from their prospering neighbors and drink the Kool-Aid, er-fracing fluid.