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Fracking and Earthquakes: The Evidence Builds

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A report released by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources links earthquakes in the Youngstown area to fracking. Fracking supporters continue to talk of the practice as safe, but the evidence continues to build that the pumping of millions of gallons deep in the ground leads to earthquakes. Fracking needs a great deal more study before we can find out if it can be done without endangering people, but instead we are plunging ahead with the practice around the nation.

Ohio is issuing new regulations:

Future injection into Precambrian rock will be banned and state-of-the-art pressure and volume monitoring will be required. Electronic tracking systems will be required to identify chemicals in the fluids entering the state.

We’ll see what the enforcement mechanism looks like? Given the clear connections between fracking and earthquakes, if they continue, that will be a clear sign that the regulations are not working.

Politics should not be the primary way to think about an issue like fracking, but I do wonder if it will become an issue in the upcoming elections. High gas prices mean that energy is going to be high on the agenda, but the evidence against fracking continues to grow. When Republicans push for more fracking, how will Americans respond? More importantly, could the issue make the kind of difference on a local level that would have larger implications? How will the people of eastern Ohio respond to this? If the Republicans make fracking central to their agenda, could it hurt them in a key battleground state like Ohio? Probably not I guess, but a question worth some thought.

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