Fracking Athens (College Project)

From August 2014 to December 2014 I worked on a months long project to identify all the different dynamics of the fracking industry in Southeast, Ohio. I talked to hundreds of community members in and around Athens County from lawyers to activists to homeowners to students about their concerns, fears, and human rights. Through my exploration of the many complexities of this environmental issue, I hope to have raised some awareness about hydraulic fracturing in Ohio. 

The Bill of Rights Committee on Issue 7

Mr. Richard McGinn from the Bill of Rights Committee in Athens has helped formulate Issue 7, a bill that, if passed, will prevent fracking corporations from coming into town. McGinn said they started back in september 2012 with their first proposal, which was going to cover the entirity of Athens County. But, they set their sites too high and were shot down. They didn't give up there though. They drafted a new proposal and presented it at an Athens City Council meeting, with a plead: "This is our last chance." 

What McGinn meant by last chance was that companies would be coming in to town to buy up the land and begin fracking, exposing Athens' water supply and crops to chemical contamination. With a whopping 890 signatures for petition, only 450 were needed, council members listened. Now, the bill has a shot on election day of being passed and McGinn and the rest of the Bill of Rights Committee is urging people to vote and to vote yes on Issue 7. 

"It's hard to get people to understand what is wrong with fracking. They aren't just driling a hole in the ground," said McGinn. 

McGinn is hopeful that the bill will pass so the city has protection. But, the bill will not completely deflect interested frackers. According to McGinn, they can sue if they want rights to the land. But, he is confident that if anything of that nature were to happen that the city would stand with the people against fracking.