Published July 3, 2012I recently was talking with friends who indicated a desire to have their property purchased by a company related to the oil and natural-gas industry. For them, this is a real possibility because of the property’s proximity to the V&M operations. They hoped to sell their property and then move away from the Valley. Although they did not specifically state this, I took it to mean they wished to move to a place not being affected by the industry. Perhaps they are just looking for a warmer place to retire. Nonetheless, at this point, I became curious as to where in the world that would be. Pulling from many different resources, I studied a number of places in North America in terms of whether governments are embracing shale-gas exploration or opposing it. It seems there are drastically different views depending on which direction one was to emigrate. There are groups advocating for and against shale drilling all over the continent and world. Certain state, commonwealth and provincial governments can be classified into “Frackers” or “Fracktivists.” Considering first a move within Ohio, it is well known now that Eastern Ohio is a target area for Utica and Marcellus Shale exploration, while western Ohio is not. However, the laws put in place by the Frackers will govern the entire state, thus allowing future drilling to possibly occur wherever it may be found. Also, Ohio accepts drilling-brine disposal from a number of other states, and it is injected deep into the ground throughout the entire state. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is ruled entirely by the Frackers. Oil and gas exploration can be found in almost every pocket of the state, except for the city of Pittsburgh, which has banned fracking entirely within the city limits. In May, Vermont’s governor signed a bill making it the first U.S. state to ban fracking. For Fracktivists in Ohio, this is a precedent-setting move that proves states do have the ability to ban fracking. Recently, the New Jersey General Assembly passed a bill that would ban the treating of waste created by hydraulic fracturing. New Jersey is not known for large pockets of oil or natural gas. A parallel bill in the Senate was advanced by committee last week but is not yet scheduled for a vote in the full Senate. This action also is a precedent-setting move that indicates states have the right to refuse the importation of brine. West Virginia is engaged in Marcellus Shale exploration. It has limited capacity to inject brine waste, so it exports much of it to southeastern Ohio. North Dakota is booming from oil and natural-gas exploration. In fact, there may not be any housing left there for people wishing to immigrate. Texas? Well, it’s Texas. Alaska also is a hotbed of oil exploration. Arkansas is drilling into the Fayettevile Shale at a rapid pace. New York was one of the first states to apply a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. Its governor is attempting to overturn that. In Canada, the province of Quebec recently has applied a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing pending an impact study. It is evident that no matter where one lives in North America, there eventually will be some impact, both negative and positive, from the oil and natural-gas industry. So perhaps the answer to the question “where you gonna go?” is “nowhere.” Perhaps we should stay right here and put effort in to safely controlling this growing industry.