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Editorial: Students and locals ought to speak out against fracking in Wayne National Forest

Oil and gas companies are again prompting the federal government to open the forest for hydraulic fracturing.

When it comes to hydraulic fracturing in Wayne National Forest, oil and gas companies don’t seem to understand the word “no.”

Those companies are at it again by prompting the federal government to consider opening the national forest for hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking. Four years ago, local environmental advocates essentially blocked a similar proposal from happening — and for good reason.

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When people go to Wayne, they expect to enjoy the natural beauty of Southeast Ohio. They likely don’t expect to think about the quality of their drinking water, or what natural resources are being extracted or destroyed around them.

To be sure, natural gas can be a cleaner fossil fuel than others, like coal or oil, but it doesn’t come without drawbacks. Hydraulic fracturing causes concern for the vitality of local water supplies and regularity of seismic activity.

As previously mentioned, Southeast Ohio residents have already shown their opposition to fracking in Wayne. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which is researching whether or not the federal government has the right to grant access for drilling below that land, will host a few public forums to gather public opinion on fracking at Wayne.

Those few forums still carry a lot of weight. Students and Athens residents alike should make time to go and express their thoughts on drilling beneath Wayne forest — whether they’re for or against it — so voices can at least be heard. If not, we risk sacrificing beautiful land to those who only seek to profit from it.

For web: Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Post's executive editors: Editor-in-Chief Emma Ockerman, Managing Editor Rebekah Barnes and Digital Managing Editor Samuel Howard. Post editorials are independent of the publication's news coverage.

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