Athens Campus Forum Wraps OU Fracking Series

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Ohio University students and faculty voiced their opinions about hydraulic fracturing and potential leasing of oil and gas rights on the OU campus.

The Ohio University's Presidential Advisory Council on Sustainability Planning and the Ecology and Energy Conservation Committee held the last of six campus forums Tuesday night.
Dr. Greg Nadon, professor of Geology, says he believes the university has time to make a thorough decision because drilling companies more drawn to Northern areas. 
"Athens is a high-risk zone for them. They don't really want to come here unless they're forced to by economic concerns," said Nadon.
The greatest concern expressed at the forum was the possibility of water contamination if the university were to lease land to drilling companies.
Dr. Natalie Kruse, assistant professor of Environmental Studies, says the water in the area is more likely to be contaminated because of the large amount of abandoned coal mines and wells.
"When we do a retrospective look on oil and gas wells over the past 20-30 years about 50 percent of those cases are no longer sound. So, what that means is in a place like Athens, or most pasts of Southeastern Ohio, where we have tons and tons of older oil and gas wells and those create really good pathways to the surface," said Kruse.
Forum participants heard presentations from OU faculty and staff on geological, environmental, water safety and general safety relating to fracking.  Nadon and Kruse both presented during that hour.  Following the presentations, a comment period began, where attendees were encouraged to talk to speakers and guests to get additional information.  Student volunteers collected comments.
Comments from each of the previous regional campus forums will be put together and presented to the Board of Trustees at their April meeting.
Ohio University employees who did not attend the forum were encouraged to give their comments on the issue through the Ohio University website.