Salt Fork State Park Barnesville-Cambridge, OH Joint Conference – April 28, 2018

 

By Jill Antares Hunkler, Community Lead, TEX-Barnesville, OH project

A special conference was hosted by participants in the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX) Barnesville and Cambridge, OH projects at Salt Fork State Park Lodge and Conference Center on April 28, in southeastern Ohio. The purpose of the event was to inform residents about the health and liability issues associated with a rapidly expanding industry in the area, horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Lea Harper, community lead for the Cambridge, Ohio TEX project and Jill Hunkler, community lead for the Barnesville, Ohio TEX project were co-facilitators of the event.

As the impacts of the industry are becoming known, many people have questions about how to protect themselves, their health and their property values in the face of the relatively unregulated industry. The importance of documenting, reporting and taking personal protective measures were emphasized.

Research, health and legal experts gave presentations and answered questions, and those attending were informed and empowered to preserve their health, peaceful enjoyment of property and civil rights. Dr. John Stolz, Director of the Center for Environmental Research and Education at Duquesne University, is the scientific lead for the Barnesville, Ohio TEX project. He presented some of his research on water quality issues near fracking operations at the conference. He also shared information about the collaborative efforts underway between the two local TEX projects.

This conference was well attended and well received.

Once the important information was shared, questions were answered and ideas were generated. Attendees emerged energized and empowered to take action, as opposed to so many who are told or tell themselves, “There’s nothing we can do.”

Natasha Udu-gama editor