A majority of leaders and officials in 17 eastern Ohio counties where shale development is occurring say it’s good for their communities, according to a survey released by Ohio University today. ideastream’s Brian Bull reports researchers asked leaders questions about how their populations, economy, infrastructure and the environment are affected.
Leaders in counties with all kinds of shale activity -- from drilling and pipeline construction to housing workers and refining -- reported rises in population and workforce migration, and restaurant, retail and hotel business, according to the survey.
But many also reported increases in traffic volume, and a need for more attention to road and bridge maintenance.
Environmental issues of most concern are demand for water and disposal of drilling wastewater.
Noise pollution was cited by many as having increased significantly, although the survey didn’t specify if that was considered a harm. It also didn’t ask leaders about contamination.
Overall, shale development is met with widespread approval from leadership throughout the 17 counties, says Scott Miller, Director of Ohio University’s Consortium for Energy, Economics, and the Environment.
“Shale development is generally seen as a positive force by local elected officials, with 87.1 percent saying it’s either been a positive or a neutral influence, and only 7.8 percent saying that it’s a negative influence,” says Miller.
More than half of respondents were township trustees, while roughly a third were mayors or city managers. The remainder was county commissioners.