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Ohioans Want Benefits of Fracking Without Earthquakes, Poll Says

Residents of Ohio, where unprecedented earthquakes are under investigation, say the benefits of drilling for natural gas and oil outweigh environmental concerns, a Quinnipiac University poll shows. They also say fracking should stop until more studies on its impact are done.

Sixty-four percent of voters think there should be drilling despite possible harm, according to results released today. When asked whether hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, should be halted for more study, 72 percent said that was a good idea.

“Ohio voters are conflicted,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Hamden, Connecticut, school’s Polling Institute, said in a statement. “They recognize the economic value of drilling for fossil fuels in the state but are worried about potential environmental risks of the specific technique.”

Drillers have turned to fracking -- which injects water, sand and chemicals into rock to free natural gas -- in shale formations under U.S. states including Ohio.

A production boom helped cut prices 32 percent last year. It’s spurring investment such as a new $650 million pipe mill in Youngstown, Ohio, even as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency studies the effects on drinking water.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Natural Resources Department is reviewing data from 11 earthquakes that shook Youngstown last year near an injection well used for disposing fracking wastewater. No quakes had been recorded there before.

The survey of 1,610 registered voters by land-line and mobile telephones was conducted Jan. 9-16 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points, the university said.

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