Public opposition to fracking in Ohio is growing as the industry digs in. (Photo by Jayson Shenk.)

Cross-posted from EcoWatch.

Ohio is the latest state hit by fracking mania. The process, which requires pushing millions of gallons of water, sand, and industrial chemicals into shale wells to fracture rock and push out oil and gas, took off after the discovery of massive natural gas deposits in the Utica shale underlying eastern Ohio last July.

Gov. John Kasich (R) sent the message that Ohio was open for business, writing to energy company CEOs around the country, inviting them to partner with the state to make fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, a major component of his economic plan. Until last year, there were just a few wells operating in Ohio. There are now 40, and the governor’s spokesperson said next year there could be five times as many.

Kasich says environmental protections and regulations are important to him, but the free-for-all so far has meant people and the environment have suffered. Not only has the process been linked to earthquakes and water contamination in the state, but the industry’s deceptive leasing practices are increasingly causing alarm among Ohioans.