Published Wed, Dec 7, 2011 8:14 am Dateline
Athens County is seeing a boom in landowners signing leases to allow drilling on their properties.
The companies are expected to use hydraulic fracturing, commonly called "fracking."
Despite the rush to sign leases, several dozen people turned out for a rally on West Union Street in Athens yesterday in an attempt to get out their anti-fracking message.
"I call it the fracking blitzkrieg because they are trying to ram this down everybody's throat as fast as possible," says Democratic Athens County Commissioner Candidate Chris Chmiel.
He says county residents have been signing drilling leases at a rapid pace.
Another speaker at the rally says one-third of the land in the county has already been leased.
"We don't do that to each other. We're Americans. It's un-American to frack. It's un-American to talk about 'I'll get my check and move to Florida.' It's wrong," says Snowville Creamery Owner Warren Taylor.
Fracking is a horizontal drilling technique that releases natural gas from shale by breaking up the rock with chemical-laced water.
Opponents say it's a threat to drinking water and many want a statewide moratorium on the process.
Several anti-fracking groups have popped up since the "fracking bug" spread to Athens. They are called Slow Down Fracking in Athens County, Athens Fracking Information Group, and Southeast Ohio Fracking Interest Group.
Those groups were some of the sponsors of the rally.
With no sign of a fracking moratorium anytime soon, the groups vow to continue to fight for their cause.