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Miss. Oil & Gas Industry on the Rise, So is Risk

By Daniel Cherry | Published 08 Nov 2012 07:58pm | comments
 Mississippi is rated the 2nd best environment for oil and gas investment...in the world. That means oil companies are looking to buy mineral rights from landowners. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how groups are educating residents on how to make a deal with oil companies, and not come out on the losing end.
 
Mickal Corken's grandmother owns 140 acres just west of McComb. He says an oil company took advantage of them in the 80s, and he doesn't want that to happen again. 
 
"The language is so difficult to understand. Probably a lot of it is written in legal-type terms. Even 30 years ago it was very difficult to understand, and from what I can understand now from talking to different people, it's gotten even more difficult."
 
Now oil companies are looking to expand in Mississippi using an advanced, but controversial drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing or fracking. But fracking is making headlines due to concerns of groundwater contamination. DW Maxwell of Brookhaven has a long career in the oil and gas industry, and he thinks the risks are worth the rewards. 
 
"Fracturing has been around for a great number of years, and has been improved through the years. So it is usually done in a very safe manner, and it's a type of drilling that will be monitored closely, and I think most people should feel safe with it."
 
But still, many residents have their concerns. Charlotte Batson runs an energy consulting firm in South Mississippi. She says the key is educating landowners how to strike a good balance with the oil companies.
 
"Landowners need information on how to balance the economic and community interests so they can benefit economically while managing the environmental impacts."
 
The state of Vermont has already banned fracking. Hundreds of communities across the nation and areas in Europe have also banned the practice.

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