ONC reporting – At a time when Ohio state lawmakers are pushing to expand fracking on public lands, polling in recent years finds most residents are either strongly opposed, somewhat opposed, or unsure about fracking as a means of natural gas production.

House Bill 507 was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine this year and requires the state to approve permits for oil and gas leasing on state-owned land.

Ben Hunkler, communications manager for the Ohio River Valley Institute, said Ohioans are skeptical of potential economic benefits of the fracking boom, noting many communities have not seen the kinds of jobs or prosperity often touted by proponents of natural gas development.

“Ohio has one of the lowest severance tax rates in the nation. Meaning that the revenue that it derives from oil and gas extraction relative to other states is really low.”

When asked about the most important priority for addressing Ohio’s energy needs, 63% of Ohioans brought up developing more renewable-energy resources, such as wind and solar, according to a George Mason University/Climate Nexus poll. A majority said increasing domestic production of renewable energy is more likely to produce a greater number of good jobs in the state than increasing domestic production of fossil fuels.

Hunkler added nearly two-thirds of Ohioans said they are worried about the effects of climate change.

“This polling also shows that majorities of Ohioans are concerned about air pollution, pollution of rivers, lakes and streams and climate change. Which are all documented threats of fracking.”

According to the Yale School of the Environment, health effects increasingly linked to living near fracking include cancer, low birth weight, disruptions to the endocrine system, nose bleeds, headaches, and nausea.

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