Friday, February 24, 2012

Hydraulic fracturing rare in Ky., but some question regulation and pollution of natural-gas drilling

Concerns about hydraulic fracturing in Appalachia prompted the Appalachian Center at the University of Kentucky to hold a panel discussion last night on fracking as a means of natural-gas extraction in the state.

Experts told the crowd of about 75 that hydraulic fracturing is rare in Kentucky because its gas geology is not the same as in states to the northeast, and most gas wells are fracked with nitrogen, an inert gas. But they acknowledged that drilling always poses environmental risks, and some in the crowd questioned whether the state is capable of properly regulating the industry.

“It’s up to the citizens to decide whether or not it’s a good industry,” replied Rick Bender of BlackRidge Resource Partners, a former longtime director of the state Division of Oil and Gas.

The discussion was billed as the center's first Appalachian Forum. For a full story, by Ivy Brashear of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, click here. For an online video of the forum, go here.

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