Colorado and Ohio Governors Talk Fracking

States must address public perception issues related to shale oil and gas drilling.

HOUSTON -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich said March 7 his state has observed and learned from the mistakes other states have made with hydraulic fracturing.

"We studied all the states, and they were very forthcoming with us," Kasich told reporters during IHS CERA Week. "So we've learned a lot from the mistakes they made. And we'll make mistakes. I have no doubt about it. But I think we can get ourselves in a position we're going to be vigilant on this. We'll have more inspectors out there. It's important we handle this the right way."

Ohio has become a hotbed of shale gas activity with the Utica and Marcellus shale plays both located in the eastern half of the state.

Kasich, a Republican, and Colorado's Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper discussed how shale gas and other energy issues are impacting their states during the event in Houston.

Kasich discussed how he and other state agencies worked together to address an issue in Youngstown where earthquakes were occurring near wastewater injection wells for a hydraulic fracturing operation.

Kasich met with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on New Year's Eve and they determined the well was too deep and likely located on a fault line, Kasich recalled.

The state responded by shutting down all wells within a five-mile radius of the site.

Ohio is now examining new technologies that can help clean fracking water, Kasich said.

"We're looking at all types of approaches, he said.

Within an energy bill he expects to push through in the next week, the state will require disclosure of chemicals in fracking fluids.

Colorado Addresses Public Perception

Colorado also is tackling public concerns regarding fracking. Colorado is home to the Niobrara shale formation situated in the northeastern part of the state.

On public concerns regarding fracking, Hickenlooper said communication is the main issue. He noted that there have only been a couple documented cases of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing activities.

"We have to get real facts out there," Hickenlooper said.

Depending on the community, public opinion in Colorado seems to be split on the merits of hydraulic fracturing, Hickenlooper said.

Areas where residents have moved for quality of life reasons appear to be more resistant than other parts of the state, Hickenlooper said.

The oil and gas industry recognizes this and is seeking ways to reduce its environmental footprint.

Colorado is speaking with oil and gas companies about possibly testing water before drilling and disclosing the results as a baseline for the public, Hickenlooper said.

"The industry has a tremendous self interest in being more transparent, really reaching out to communities and resolving those anxieties," Hickenlooper said.

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