Wheeling Jesuit University to Hold Public Discussion on Ohio River Fracking

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Fracking under the Ohio River will be the topic for discussion with a number of local and state legislators, environmental experts and Gastar Exploration representatives during a forum set for Saturday, Feb. 7 at Wheeling Jesuit University.

WJU’s Appalachian Institute is hosting the event, which includes a panel made up of Dr. Ben Stout, WJU professor of biology and Mike McCown, Vice President for Gastar Exploration, Inc.

The event is open to the public and will be held at 1 p.m. in the Recital Hall inside the Center for Educational Technologies building on the campus of WJU.

Gastar recently was the successful bidder to drill wells underneath a two-mile section of the Ohio River adjacent to Marshall County, W.Va., where the company is currently operating. Gastar has a total of 70 wells in Marshall County.

“The Appalachian Institute wants to give the public a chance to voice any concerns or ask questions regarding this project. This will be the first time anyone will be able to speak regarding the project,” said WJU Appalachian Institute Director Beth Collins.

The majority of the discussion will be a Q&A between the public and the panel. “There are a lot of concerns about hydraulic fracking around the state of West Virginia. Our drinking water comes from that body of water and I’m glad that Mike and Dr. Stout will be on hand to give clarity to these major concerns,” added Collins.

In addition to McCown speaking about the overall plan for Gastar, and Stout speaking on the environmental concerns, local politicians will have the chance to ask questions or give statements.

State legislators who will be in attendance include Sens. Ryan Ferns (R-Ohio) and Jack Yost (D-Brooke). West Virginia House of Delegate members Ryan Weld (R-Brooke), Erikka Storch (R-Ohio), Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio), Dave Evans (R-Marshall) and Mark Zatezalo (R-Hancock) also plan to attend.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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