Hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, has been in use in the oil and gas industries for decades. During that time we recall hearing of no harm from it to people or the environment.
Now, however, a few Ohio legislators want to ban fracking, at least temporarily, in the state. Bills are being prepared in both the state Senate and House of Representatives to declare a moratorium on fracking until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completes a study of the practice.
A ban on fracking would basically shut down the rapidly growing gas drilling boom in Ohio. Wells drilled into the Marcellus and Utica shale formations rely on fracking to free gas trapped in the rock.
If drillers are told they cannot use the most efficient methods available to get gas in Ohio, they will simply move their rigs elsewhere. The Buckeye State will miss out on a boost to the economy such as already has benefited many in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
A variety of studies of fracking and other technologies used in gas and oil drilling already have been completed. To date none has cited any particular danger from the practice.
Why are a few legislators attempting to establish a temporary ban on fracking? Perhaps misinformed concern for the environment is involved. Or it could be the lawmakers want to please radical environmentalists. But whatever the reasoning, it is not sound.
Both houses of the General Assembly should reject the fracking moratorium. At a time when Ohio's economy needs all the help it can get - and Ohioans need all the jobs that can be brought to the state - such a ban makes no sense.