It’s a battle that has been raging for years. But a “new and improved” process for pulling massive deposits of fossil fuels from the ground in financially devastated areas of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, is bringing a lot of hope to communities where homelessness and poverty run rampant.
In northeastern Ohio, oil companies from across the U.S. are setting up shop, developing wells and putting people to work, trying to get the oil out of the sedimentary rock. The controversial process used to get the oil out is called “fracking,” which involves a highly pressurized fluid injected into the shale as a way to extract the fossil fuels caught between the rock.
“Years ago we couldn’t figure out how to get it out of there in an economical way, but somebody came up with a better mousetrap,” said oil analyst Phil Flynn of PFGBest. “Instead of only getting maybe 10 percent of that oil and gas out of the market, now we get 75 to 80 to 90 percent of that oil and gas out” he said.
The latest fracking process, which developers claim is less environmentally damaging, involves a seamless pipe drilled thousands of feet into the ground, which then curves horizontally. Water and chemicals are pumped through to break up the shale. The water is then withdrawn, pulling with it oil and natural gas.