Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves blasting millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals into a well to break up shale and allow oil and gas to flow out. The practice has come to Portage County in a big way over the last 18 months, potentially fueling economic development, while sparking public concerns over the potential impact to drinking water and air quality.
Our little corner of Northeast Ohio is experiencing a new wave of oil and gas exploration, as new drilling and production technologies make extraction of oil and gas from the shale deposits deep beneath the land more accessible. Over the past 18 – 24 months, energy company “landmen” and leasing agents have been talking to area residents, offering landowners leases for what seems like good money, when compared to the twenty-dollar-an-acre leases of several decades ago. But the reality is that your mineral rights can be worth much more than what many of these leases will offer. And the environmental concerns resulting from potential drilling is often not addressed. To further complicate the issue, some of the companies that approach you may actually be contracted by a large energy company. Others may hope to shop your lease to the highest bidder at a later date, and at a much higher price than what was paid to you. So where can a homeowner turn for help?
Portage County – How did a bison named “Gentle Ben” get involved with horizontal fracturing wells? Back in June, Ben’s owner, flight attendant Beckie Dean, had some painting done at her home. At that time, she learned her pilot was having a difficult time convincing his wife to add his recently acquired eight-point buck to their home décor. Dean was more than happy to share pictures of Gentle Ben to show how seamlessly he fit with the rest of the décor in her family’s home. Dean took her time to take extensive photos of her home to share with her pilot and the rest of the flight crew.