News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Levin Furniture

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Environment


Carrollton, before and after fracking became a mainstay of life
Life in one Ohio village at the center of the drilling boom has changed a lot in the last five years; whether for better or worse is open to debate
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Traffic around the Carrollton village square in the middle of an ordinary day.
Courtesy of TIM RUDELL
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

This Saturday marks three years since drillers starting putting in a fracking well just outside Carrollton. It helped kick off Ohio’s Utica Shale boom; Carroll County now has 240 producing wells.

The boom has meant big changes for Carrolton and the surrounding countryside. Whether that’s good or bad depends on who you ask. WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports.

LISTEN: The impact of fracking on one Ohio town

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:31)


Before drilling rigs were in the hills outside Carrollton, unemployment topped 16 percent in Carroll County. It's 5.6 percent now.

 

Before “big rigs” filled the streets of this village of 3,200 people, you could doze away a warm afternoon on the town square; it was that quiet. 

There were vacant store fronts then, too.  Now, surrounding restaurants and shops are busy.

Life-long area resident Shirley Anderson says that’s good…but the county has lost something too. She’s curator of the historic McCook House — a Civil War Museum across from the square.

Shirley Anderson “It was a very friendly, quiet, easy-going county. And I guess what bothers me the most about it is the traffic. The large trucks, stopping at the stop sign right there beside the house, sit there and just bounce up and down; actually shaking the museum apart.”

She points out cracked plaster on the side of the building and broken panes of glass. Anderson also believes the changes in the village of Carrollton are costing her museum visitors.

“I use to have buses of tourists come to the house.  I haven’t had a one this year.”

Across the square
Sheriff Dale Williams was Carroll County born and raise, too. He says increased traffic is a huge problem. Accidents were up 150 percent in 2013 over pre-shale-boom years. 

Dale Williams, Carroll County Sheriff But he says, although things like disturbance calls in bars are up, contrary to expectations, a massive influx of temporary workers from other parts of the country has not raised the crime rate.
Drillers in Carroll County I’ve not seen, because of people moving into the county, that there’s an over-flux of burglaries, or breaking & entering and that sort of thing. I’ve not seen that.”

Williams says it’s also a relief that the county’s annual sales tax revenue more than doubled between 2010 and 2013, to $3.4 million. And he says, drilling companies spent $40 million fixing up rural roads. The county’s yearly budget for all road repair is just $500,000.

“If I look at the big picture — and I’m sure there are people in the county that will disagree with me — but from my point of view, it’s a lot better than it was.”

Fifteen years ago,
Paul Feezel moved his business consulting practice to Carrollton from the metro Cleveland/Akron area for the quality of life. And he says, while drilling has been a financial boost for many rural families, the price of that progress is high:Paul and Diana Feezel industrialization of the pristine countryside, putting key resources like air quality and water at risk.

“That industrialization certainly brought money through the area. But I harken back to an informal survey where they asked: 'What are the reasons that you live here?' And of those top reasons, none of them were about economic opportunity.” 

Feezel says the county conducted that survey in the early 2000s, and that it showed most residents valued outdoor lifestyles and clean air and water. He also says those natural attributes of Carroll County gave rise to thriving summer camp and outdoor recreation businesses that could fade away if the area loses its rural character. 

Still, he knows the economic boon from drilling is real. He says he got about $450,000 for the mineral rights to his 80-acre property. And he expects another $400,000 in royalties over time. He says those payments are typical – and that they can be “life changing” for the average small farmer.

But, he says, the risks and down sides of drilling may drive him away.

“The reality of it is, we’re not going to be the beautiful, little rural county we used to be. And that may impact my wife and I and our decision as to whether we stay there or not.”

The edge of paradise?
Life-time Carroll County residents Shirley Anderson of the McCook House and Sheriff Dale Williams are here to stay, but they disagree about the impact of the drilling boom.McCook House

“Actually," says Anderson, "Carroll County used to be known as ‘the edge of paradise.’ For our tourism, that’s what we called ourselves. Well, this is hardly the edge of paradise now. I'ts more like the edge of chaos.”

But Williams disagrees.

“Carrollton will always be Carrollton and will always be my home. I’ve seen the good and the bad. And I think it has improved over the last three years.

The argument will continue to play out in Carroll County – and it may soon expand to other parts of Ohio, too. This week, the U.S. Energy Information Agency declared the state’s Utica Shale one of the fastest growing energy plays in the country. 

(Click image for larger view.)


Related WKSU Stories

Federal report shows ground water at risk from fracking waste
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Study seeks pre-fracking baseline for groundwater quality
Monday, July 14, 2014

Midstream growth fuels fracking boom
Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio's tax commissioner says the ID quiz is going well
I filed electronically and there was no provision to print out a copy that I could find. How do I get a copy sent to my exclusive address of record, including ...

Ohio to appeal ruling keeping Akron's red light cameras in place
I don't understand what all the fuss is about. If you don't like tickets drive the speed limit and stop at red lights. It's really all up to you.

Who's on public assistance in Ohio?
legalize marijuana get over it,,, its here its been the main drug test scare of a lifetime. u got people that get drunk every night and work u got peoples on ...

Letters from a lost friend: A Beachwood survivor's Holocaust remembrance
What a great story -- and how important it was for both Marlene and her mother to tell it! Thank you.

Ohio lawmaker calls for an East Cleveland bailout
Instead of blaming Kasich and the Republicans for all of East Cleveland's fiscal woes, take a look at the facts. Some political entities in Ohio are too small ...

Legalized marijuana is a boon for a Cleveland-area grow light maker
Shouldn't he be in jail for paraphernalia? He knows he is selling for marijuana production.

Akron city council to vote on resolution for hiring ex-offenders
Great as a taxpayer I paid for the police to catch them, the free lawyer, the jail to house them , the food their kids eat the medical for them and all its goin...

5 of 8 rule headed for a vote
this is just another way for kasich to pass the buck and claim that it gives the local districts control. Few schools have enough money because of his cuts. T...

A passionate debate about parole in Ohio
I was heartened to hear that the legislators will consider ANY legislation to break the chains the parole board has put on these old law offenders who have serv...

Bill would allow Ohio religious leaders to refuse to do gay marriages
This is just a lot of political posturing. The free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment already protects clergy from being forced by civil authorities to perfo...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University