Carroll County Residents Recount Effects Of Fracking

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People talk about the impact of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking on the land, but it can also impact the community in which drillers operate.

Some Carroll County residents are reacting to the hydraulic fracturing taking place in their area.

The debate over hydraulic fracturing– or fracking– rages on in southeast Ohio. Although Athens County has yet to see any drilling, nearby communities could soon see extraction in their area.

"When they pick a well site, I think they pick it from Oklahoma City. It was clear up this huge hill we have down the other side just as far as in the foods and valley, and I said you can't go there," said John Neider.  He and his wife fun a dairy farm and now have a fracking site on their property.

"We never expected anything to come of this, then all of a sudden, it just all kind of blind-sided you," said Neider. 

Five generations of Amy Rutledge's family have lived in Carroll County, Ohio.  The county is now in the heat of a fracking boom.  As the director of Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, Rutledge has seen the county change as natural gas developers' move into the area.

"As we go forward and more people arrive in the county to do business or whatever… we're going to have a housing problem. And I am concerned about the folks who work for minimum wage being priced out of places to live," said Rutledge.                                                                  

Rutledge says she's concerned about the impact of gas extraction in her county, but she says she also feels strongly that signing leases with oil and gas companies has had a positive impact on the community.  Carroll County resident Cheryl Garner remembers her grandmother when talking about the Marcellus shale.

"She loved to put in flower beds and gardens," said Garner. "And when she would try and dig up a garden she would get so upset about having to dig up the rocks because the shale is everywhere. She would just find it very funny if she was here today that this is so valuable and she would be so upset about it."

Soul of Athens is an awarding-winning online multimedia publication created every year by more than 100 students at Ohio University. WOUB, in partnership with Soul of Athens, brings you some of the stories those students are working on for this year's edition, which will launch on May 30.