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Ohio shale boom stirs debate

Ohio shale boom stirs debate
Oil workers monitor oil production at the Niobrara oil shale formation in Weld County, North eastern Colorado on May 30, 2012. Gas and oil companies are using large amounts of water to obtain shale oil and gas in a process called hydraulic fracturing or fracking. UPI/Gary C. Caskey | License Photo

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 24 (UPI) -- An environmental group in Ohio said it was encouraged by the economic prospects of shale natural gas but had equal concerns about public health.

Members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce unveiled what they said was a multimillion-dollar campaign to promote the economic opportunities presented by Ohio shale.

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Jack Shaner, a director at the Ohio Environmental Council, said shale presented a unique opportunity for the state but there were concerns about extraction practices.

"The chamber is well-suited and well-qualified to present an economic perspective but there is an equally compelling perspective and that is the protection of public health, safety and the environment," Shaner was quoted by The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch as saying.

BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley spoke of the energy potential in Ohio shale during a recent conference in Cleveland. He said there might be as much as 15.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the state, making it one of the largest potential energy producers in the country.

Ohio hosts portions of the Marcellus and Utica plays, two of the richest shale deposits in the United States.

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