Ashley Ahearn, KUOW 94.9 Nov 20, 2015
Courtesy of Tom Hodson, WOUB Nov 19, 2015
The accelerated pace of unconventional oil and gas development in eastern Ohio has opened up many opportunities and created many questions about the future of the region. As a major research institution located within the state’s Utica and Marcellus shale plays, Ohio University has a responsibility to address the complex economic, social, environmental and technical questions associated with shale development in Ohio. CE3’s deep-rooted understanding of the regional players and politics allows us to work with local governments, communities, businesses and non-profit groups, presenting fact-based research and studies that help address the impacts that shale development is having on Ohio’s economy and environment.
CE3’s work to date related to shale demonstrates a range of expertise and the priority we place on maximizing our regional assets to provide unbiased research, outreach and learning opportunities. Examples of our work include:
Ohio University Voinovich School
In Eastern and Southern Ohio, oil and gas leases are rapidly being signed for drilling in the Utica Shale. In order to quantify impacts of shale gas exploration, baseline environmental conditions must first be measured. With start-up funding from Ohio University and The Sugar Bush Foundation, the Voinovich School partnered with OU's Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment Laboratory (ISEE), The Sugar Bush Foundation, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a regional shallow aquifer groundwater study. This study measured baseline water quality parameters prior to the commencement of controversial high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing drilling activities in and around Athens and Belmont Counties in Ohio.
Findings: The baseline establishment suggests that there is not widespread organic groundwater pollution in Athens and Belmont Counties, despite a long history of coal mining and oil and gas extraction. This information will assist rural landowners, elected officials and regulators to learn more about the complex issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing, especially as it relates to local water resources. Read the 2013 final report here.
The Ohio Shale Energy Conference in April 2012 informally launched CE3’s business outreach efforts related to shale: the event convened more than 500 attendees interested in exploring opportunities to grow the local supply chain for shale in Ohio. The resulting Ohio Shale Supply Chain Database, funded by the USDA’s Office of Rural Development, has grown to include more than 1300 companies in regional shale supply chain. The database serves as a tool to help buyers and suppliers connect to source their shale development needs locally and, on a larger scale, showcases Ohio’s strengths to support economic development through an important regional strategic resource.
The Voinovich School is conducting the first of what is anticipated to be a longitudinal investigation of the impact of shale development activities on communities in eastern Ohio. The report is based on the results of surveys conducted with local officials across 17 Ohio counties. The findings include what types of shale development activities are being reported and how shale development has impacted local populations, housing, public safety, infrastructure, employment, environment and the local economy. To learn more about the project, click here. For more information, contact Robin Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.