Relatively new drilling technology – high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking) – now makes it possible to reach natural gas reserves that underlie much of the eastern part of Ohio.

Fracking is the use of sand, water, and chemicals injected at high pressures to blast open shale rock and release the trapped gas inside. Horizontal drilling is just like it sounds: after the well drill reaches a certain vertical depth in the ground, the well is then drilled horizontally.

As with any industrial activity, the development of oil and gas involves risks to air, land, water, wildlife and communities.

While the use of hydraulic fracturing to drill vertical wells has been used for decades, what is relatively new is the use of horizontal drilling in conjunction with hydraulic fracturing is very new and only began in Ohio in 2011.

The use of horizontal fracking requires millions of gallons of fresh water, acres of land per well pad, and the use of undisclosed chemicals.

As this new wave of oil and gas development has ramped up nationwide, communities have seen a corresponding increase in harmful air emissions, spills and accidents leading to water contamination, and serious problems associated with the disposal of fracking waste fluids.

Because horizontal fracking is new to Ohio, our laws haven’t kept pacep. That’s why we’ve called on lawmakers to close the gaps in Ohio law, and immediately put the necessary protections in place to protect the health and wellbeing of all Ohioans.

The OEC is working to strengthen safeguards for Ohioans and Ohio’s air, land and water when it comes to oil and gas development. The OEC is building support for the first-ever federal standards on methane pollution coming from oil and gas operations, and at the state level, we’re working to close the chemical reporting loophole. We advocate for strengthening well pad siting requirements to ensure they are protective of water resources and public health and safety.