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State officials urged a drilling company not to take water from a Columbiana County creek for a “ fracking” operation because of fears that the action might threaten wildlife and an endangered salamander.
Chesapeake Energy ultimately decided not to take water from a branch of Little Beaver Creek, a state-designated wild and scenic river. Records from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources show that agency officials had discussed their concerns as far back as April.
“I know that we don’t have any jurisdiction over this issue, but I am concerned with how water withdraws might affect the ... Little Beaver Creek,” wrote Matthew Smith, a regional scenic-river manager, in an April 12 email to his boss, state scenic-rivers manager Bob Gable.
“There may be impact to the endangered hellbender salamander and fresh water mussels in the stream,” Smith wrote.Little Beaver Creek is the first location in Ohio where state officials acknowledge a potential problem with withdrawing water for fracking, a process that injects millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals underground to shatter shale and free trapped oil and gas.“We placed a call and said, ‘Hey, we got your registration and please be aware that there are concerns that there could potentially be problems,’ ” said Ted Lozier, the agency’s deputy chief of soil and water resources.
Environmental advocacy groups say fracking is a pollution threat. Industry officials say it’s safe. At the same time, the question of whether there is enough water for fracking has become an issue of its own.“Troubled Waters,” a Dispatch investigation published last week, found that growing fracking needs in Carroll County alone could consume as much as 805 million gallons of water. State records show that drilling companies and mines used 3.5 million gallons in Carroll County in 2010...