Mineral extraction has a long history in Ohio. Coal has been mined in Ohio since 1804 and fueled the early days of the Industrial Revolution.
In 1900, Ohio produced more oil than any other state in the United States and sparked the fortune of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company.
Mineral extraction continues to be big business in the state.
In 2011 alone, Ohio’s oil and gas industry drilled an estimated 460 oil and gas wells in 42 of Ohio’s 88 counties, producing more than 4.85 million barrels of crude oil (1.4% increase over 2010), and more than 73 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
However, coal mining and oil and gas extraction comes with potentially devastating environmental and human health impacts.
- In Ohio, acid mine drainage from old coal mines has ravaged streams and turning clean water into orange streams of acid.
- Multiple releases of toxic coal waste from mining sludge impoundments jeopardizes streams like Captina Creek in Belmont County, the breeding ground for the Endangered Hellbender Salmander.
Oil & Gas Drilling
As the industrial-sized oil and gas drilling boom has hit Ohio, the potential for more environmental and human impacts increases. Here is just a snapshot:
Many of the chemicals used in fracking — hydrochloric acid, diesel fuel components, and formaldehyde to name a few — are highly toxic and have serious short - and long-term health effects on humans.
Industry spokespersons claim that chemicals used in the fracturing process make up only a small fraction of fracking fluids. Even so, each fracking operation can use between 4,000 and 7,000 gallons of chemicals each time a well is “fracked.”
Fracking & Air Quality
Hazardous air emissions are released from a variety of sources throughout the fracking process. These include hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide, BTEX (benzene, tolulene, ethylbenzene and xylene), as well as methane and natural gas. Known public health effects from these emissions include reproductive, respiratory, and blood disorders, as well as central nervous system and neurological effects.
OEC and its allies are hard at work at the Statehouse and courthouse to make sure Ohio’s natural heritage is protected and the state moves from its dependence on fossil fuels and toward a cleaner, greener, energy future.