Watershed: Millions of gallons of water for hydro-fracture drilling

5:49 PM, Apr 20, 2012   |    comments
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A decision by an Ohio watershed district to supply water for hydro-fracture drilling could cause a flood of protest by environmental groups.

In this week's Outdoors with Big Daddy, WKYC photojournalist Carl Bachtel takes us to southeast Ohio, the heart of fracking country, to explain the deal and why people are worried.

Behind a dam of earth and rock lies the 8.6 billion gallons of water known as Clendening Reservior.

Under it, more than a mile down, lies the Utica shale formation. Soon the two will meet.

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District finalized a deal Friday to supply 11 million gallons of water over a two-week period for Gulfport Energy to drill and complete a Utica well.

The water will be pumped directly from the lake to the drilling site by temporary pipeline.

Lea Harper owns property near one of the MCWD lakes. Her group, the Southeast Ohio Alliance to Save Our Water, sees this action as ignoring the public good.

Harper said, "We just don't know what we're getting into. This is fairly new technology and you know how it is with some of these environmental issues. They don't show up until it's too late and then it's a Superfund site."

The well is located near Clendening at Fort Stuben, a camp owned by the Boy Scouts of America. They, along with the MCWD, have leased their mineral rights on lands around and under the lake.

Logan says the deal has built-in safeguards and protections, striking a balance between use and abuse of a resource.

The MWCD also approved the lease of mineral rights under Leesville Reservoir to Chesapeake Energy, opening the door to drilling deep under that lake.

No word if any other water use deals are in the works there.    

WKYC-TV

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