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Farmers Concerned About Fracking
Posted on: 01/30/2013
By  Mike Cullums
As hydraulic fracturing for shale gas grows in Ohio, some farmers’ concerns have concerns about possible impacts on public health and their land.
Kip Gardner of Creekview Ridge Farm in Carroll County is in the process of becoming a certified organic farm operation. He says the toxic chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing have the potential to contaminate water and soil; he says nearly all of his neighbors have already signed drilling leases; and he’s concerned that a legal process known as “mandatory pooling” will force him into a lease even though he doesn’t want one.
Gardner says, "We’ve been approached, I think, four times now by Chesapeake and BP about signing leases and so far they have not offered any terms that we consider adequate to protect what we are doing on the farm."
Mandatory pooling allows the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to authorize access to non-leased land once oil and gas companies have acquired leases for 65 percent of the land in a local "drilling unit." Gardner says he’s deeply disappointed to learn that private interests can trump his rights as a landowner.
"It feels as if the land is ours until somebody else wants to do something with it," he says, "and it’s not even public domain - it’s a private company."
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association has posted several farmers’ stories and personal experiences. Their profiles are featured in a new online series offered by the association. It’s called “Fracking and Farmland." You can find it here
Interview provided by Ohio News Connection
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