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Reader opposes future drilling by Cabot Oil

Letter to the Editor,
 
Cabot Oil and Gas is buying leases in Southern Ashland County for the purpose of drilling wells for horizontal hydraulic fracturing, a devastating process for the environment. Letters from Cabot claim that it values and respects the environment, but Cabot, responsible for contaminating water wells and land in Dimock Township, Pennsylvania, has been accused of numerous safety violations including pollution of waterways and water well contamination due to poorly constructed wells, according to Sourcewatch.
 
Claims of royalty payments and job creation do not compensate for threats to health and loss of property values. John Hanger, Pennsylvania's environmental chief, described Cabot “as one of the worst oil and gas operators.”
 
In horizontal fracturing, millions of gallons of water and hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals including carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and neurotoxins are pumped at high pressure into drilled wells in order to release gas and oil.
 
About 20 percent of this toxic water flows back to the surface along with mud contaminated with volatile organic compounds and must be stored in tanks or injected into old wells that have been known to leak. High-pressure injection also causes earthquakes.
 
Compressor stations, which process the gas, continuously emit methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Each frack requires hundreds of trips by heavy trucks, which damages roads and increases noise and pollution. Toxic spills and criminal dumping have been recorded in every state with fracking operations.
 
The 2005 Energy Policy Act exempts fracking from accountability under seven EPA laws including the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. Ohio’s environmental laws will not protect landowners because state inspectors are not required to be on site until the end of the process.
 
Even ODNR’s literature warns of water well contamination from fracking. Nor do “landowner-friendly” leases ensure protection because the burden of proof of environmental degradation falls on individuals.
 
People who do not sign leases face the same danger of contaminated wells even though they will receive no royalties from the resources recovered and must in addition pay to have their water wells tested.
 
In Harrison County I have seen the once-bucolic countryside scarred with pipeline construction, well pads and compressor stations.
 
If Cabot has its way, Southern Ashland County, one of the most beautiful areas of the state, will become another sacrifice zone like Dimock, Pennsylvania; Pavilion, Wyoming; and nearly all of North Dakota.
 
Deborah Fleming
 
Perrysville
 

Published: February 12, 2018
New Article ID: 2018180209944