The debate against hydraulic fracturing continues in Athens County

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A leasing event and interest group met at the Ohio University Inn to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the effects of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking.

Cunningham Energy, a West Virginia based Oil & Gas Company, held the event this past Friday and Saturday. The purpose of the event was to educate Athens residents about fracking and to encourage them to lease their land to build a hydraulic fracturing well on the property.

Local community members who are opposed to fracking held a peaceful protest during the event, and also stressed the importance of education about the fracking process. Although fracking provides economic and environmental interests for the landowners, protesters argue that it is harmful for the environment and alternatives should be considered first.

“I think it’s important that people are educated. A lot of people that are signing leases they don’t know anything about fracking. They know what they’re telling them,” said Smiles Welch, an Athens resident protesting at the event.

Some of the arguments against fracking are that it reduces land value, pollutes the water and air, kills nearby animal and plant life, and harm the health of the landowners using the fracked well.