The United States oil business is booming and the country could soon be the largest crude oil producer in the world. Despite this record-breaking production, climate change activists campaigning to move away from fossil fuels say they are making progress.

The U.S. is one of only a few countries in the world that allow private individuals to own the minerals under their land, a policy that dates to the Founding Fathers as they sought to elevate private interests over those of the British Crown. This financial incentive to allow new drilling goes a long way in explaining the nation's natural gas boom. The National Association of Royalty Owners estimates some 12 million American landowners receive royalties for the exploitation of oil, gas and other mineral resources under their property.

The nation's rush to increase oil production is having a long-distance impact on the Great Lakes region.

Geologic formations have given parts of the region ample deposits of sand, including the hard, round version that is used in fracking. Seen from space a few months ago by the Landsat 8 satellite, the light brown mines dot a landscape of green fields and forests. 

Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

A petrochemical company from Thailand that has already invested $100 million in a facility in eastern Ohio is considering making an even bigger investment. But it’s not a done deal.

Evacuation orders are in place for residents in the Powhatan Point area after an explosion and fire at a well pad.

In eastern Ohio's Belmont County, some residents are still evacuated from their homes after a natural gas well explosion last week.

Ohio Regulators Give Green Light For New Solar Farms

Feb 16, 2018
solar panels

Ohio officials have approved permits for what would be the two largest solar arrays in the state.


Lawmakers are trying to decide whether the state should step in and save struggling power plants that might be on the brink of closing. As the Legislature’s top leaders gathered for a forum they were asked what’s next for these so-called bailout proposals.


One of the Democrats running for Governor is calling for an end to oil and gas drilling in Ohio. While Dennis Kucinich’s four primary opponents aren’t embracing that idea, they agree that more needs to be done to protect the environment. 

Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich speaks during a news conference announcing his run for Ohio governor, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018.
Tony Dejak / AP

Dennis Kucinich says if elected Ohio governor, he’d use the office's power to end the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Ohio EPA

Earlier this month, for the second time in less than a year, the Rover Pipeline project leaked drilling mud at its construction site near the Tuscawaras River in Stark County.