Athens, Ohio: California-based international air contamination experts Global Community Monitor (GCM) will be visiting Athens for two days, May 10 and 11. On Friday, they will tour local injection well sites and participate in two free public events at Arts West, 132 W. State St., Athens: first, a roundtable press conference with community leaders from 12:30-2 p.m. and in the evening, a community meeting and presentation from 6 to 8 p.m. On Saturday, GCM will train twenty Appalachian Ohio and West Virginia residents how to measure levels of air contamination in their communities.
In response to the presence of documented toxics in local injection well open pits and to the headaches and throat irritation experienced by residents who have ventured near the well sites, Athens Fracking Action Network has invited GCM to offer their “Bucket Brigade” program to our region. The Bucket Brigade originated in 1995 with Edward Masry, the attorney who worked with environmental activist Erin Brockovich. Upset about a release of toxic fumes from a local oil refinery, Masry tried to find a way for ordinary people to document air pollution. The result is a user-friendly device, housed inside a 5-gallon bucket that can “grab” and store air samples for analysis. Communities that have established a Bucket Brigade are able to challenge polluters and increase enforcement of environmental laws.
GCM made the news last week when it reported the high levels of benzene and other hazardous pollutants found by Bucket Brigade monitors in Mayflower, Arkansas, following the Exxon pipeline rupture and tar sands oil spill. Serendipitously, GCM had trained Arkansas citizens just last December. See more at gcmonitor.org. This is GCM’s first visit to Ohio with a focus on extreme oil and gas operations.
Everyone is welcome to attend the Friday press conference and evening event to learn about local, state, and national work on extreme energy and how communities are taking action. Local air and water quality issues will be discussed and updates presented on what’s happening with fracking and injection wells in Ohio.
WHEN: Friday, May 10: Press conference roundtable: 12:30 – 2 p.m.; Community presentation: 6 -8 p.m.
WHERE: Arts West, 132 W. State, Athens
WHO: Global Community Monitor, hosted by Athens County Fracking Action Network
WHAT: Learn from international air pollution monitoring experts Global Community Monitor about local, state, and national work on extreme energy and how communities are taking action. Local air and water quality issues will be discussed and updates presented on what’s happening with fracking and injection wells in Ohio. GCM made news last week with documentation by Bucket Brigades of extremely high benzene from Exxon’s tar sands flood in Mayflower, Arkansas.
NBC4 TV Columbus coverage, Rick Reitzel:
Could Ohio Ban The Use Of Injection Wells For Fracking Waste?
Posted: May 01, 2013 4:44 PM EDTUpdated: May 01, 2013 6:06 PM EDT By: Rick Reitzel - email
This week, State Sen. Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood), State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) and State Rep. Robert Hagan (D-Youngstown) introduced legislation to ban Class II fracking waste injection wells in Ohio. The bill would prevent waste from being discharged into Ohio’s waterways after treatment, and would make it illegal for municipalities to use the liquid waste from oil and gas operations for dust and ice control on roadways.
Today, grassroots leaders from around the state applauded the bill, citing that none of Ohio’s wastewater treatment plants are equipped to handle the level of toxicity and radioactivity present in fracking waste.
“Ohio communities should not be declared wastelands for dumping toxic waste into what amounts to a hole in the ground, thereby endangering local drinking water supplies and public health,” said Teresa Mills, fracking coordinator with the Buckeye Forest Council. “Community groups have been working with state legislators on ways to address the problems associated with fracking injection wells, and we’re thrilled to see this legislation introduced.”
“We need to take the necessary time to consider all the consequences of drilling so many additional injection wells in Ohio,” said State Rep. Denise Driehaus. “We should avoid the pitfalls other states have encountered and focus on protecting our land, water and residents. Drilling for oil and gas produces an abundant amount of waste, which is then injected deep beneath the ground. These wells are changing the Earth’s geology by adding man-made cracks that allow water and waste to flow freely. We cannot sit idly by as our state is used as a dumping ground for toxic waste and Ohioans’ health and safety are increasingly put at risk.”
“Ohio politicians and regulators have been too lenient on oil and gas industry disposal of fracking waste,” said Alison Auciello, Ohio-based organizer for Food & Water Watch. “Just because the industry is creating a tremendous amount of toxic waste doesn’t mean Ohio has to accept it. In the absence of truly safe disposal methods, the burden should be placed on the industry to come up with safe alternatives or cease to create the waste in the first place.”
In 2012, Ohio’s 178 active injection wells accepted 13,846,657 barrels of brine and liquid waste. Radioactivity in oil and gas wastewaters has been found to exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s safe drinking limits by up to 3,600 times, exceeds federal industrial discharge limits set by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency by more than 300 times.
“The state should follow our lead,” said Joanne Gerson, chair of the Southwest Ohio No Frack Forum, which was instrumental last year in helping to enact an ordinance passed by the Cincinnati City Council banning the underground disposal of waste within city limits.
Athens County Fracking Action Network release:
Citizens’ Bill to Ban Fracking Waste Injection Wells Introduced
Ohio Community Groups Concerned about Toxic Oil and Gas Waste Work With Lawmakers on Citizens’ Bill to Ban Class 2 Injection Wells
Athens, Ohio, April 30, 2013 - A coalition of citizens’ groups announced today that they have been working with State Senator Mike Skindell (Lakewood), and State Representatives Denise Driehaus (Cincinnati) and Robert Hagan (Youngstown) to introduce the Citizens Bill to Ban Class 2 Injection Wells in Ohio. The lawmakers cited a letter of support they have received from a coalition of 42 local, state, and national groups urging their introduction of the injection well ban to protect the health and safety of Ohioans.
The initiative was prompted by recent events, including earthquakes in Geauga and Mahoning Counties, the federal indictment of D&L industries for dumping, lack of public participation in the injection well permitting process and multiple news reports outlining the radioactivity and toxicity of oil and gas wastewater flooding into Ohio by the millions of barrels.
Teresa Mills, fracking coordinator with Buckeye Forest Council, stated that conversations have been ongoing between legislators and 22 community groups over the last several months on how to address these problems. “Ohio communities should not be declared wastelands for dumping this toxic waste into what amounts to a hole in the ground, putting their children’s health and drinking water supply at risk”, she said.
Roxanne Groff, a member of Athens County Fracking Action Network (ACFAN) has been working with statewide groups in supporting the legislative ban. “ I feel it is the duty of our lawmakers to bust the myths that fracking is safe, that the energy is cheap and that it creates jobs. The toxic waste created by this unconventional method of oil and gas extraction is a serious threat to our communities – to our economic, human, and animal health and well being. Its disposal should not be allowed in Ohio where our regulatory agency, ODNR, cannot and does not provide adequate oversight.”
Representative Driehaus, a bill sponsor, stated, “We cannot sit idly by as our state is used as a dumping ground for toxic waste and Ohioans’ health and safety are at increased risk.”
In 2012, Ohio’s 178 active injection wells accepted 13,846,657 barrels of brine and liquid waste.  Radioactivity in oil and gas wastewaters has been found to exceed the U.S.EPA safe drinking limits by up to 3,600 times and federal industrial discharge limits set by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency by more than 300 times.
Introduced in both the Ohio House and Senate, the legislation would ban Class 2 wells used for underground injection of oil and gas waste. The bill would also stop waste from being discharged into Ohio’s waterways after treatment and make it illegal for municipalities to use the liquid waste from oil and gas operations for dust and ice control on roadways. Citizens contend that none of Ohio’s wastewater treatment plants are equipped to handle the level of toxicity and radioactivity found in frack waste.
Charlie Adkins, Athens County Commissioner said that he supports the legislative ban and voted last Tuesday in a commissioners’ unanimous vote to that effect. “There are two new injection well permitted in Athens County. The local landowners, community members and County Board of Commissioners all objected to these wells. ODNR ignored us all.”
The letter of support can be found here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6reOLimqJobRW9xbzhjaU9ZMjA/edit?usp=sharing
Over thirteen groups delivered over 100,000 petitions for a statewide moratorium on shale gas development — fracking and all its infrastructure, from compressor stations to waste pits — to Governor Corbett in Harrisburg yesterday. The first press report, “Boxes of petitions delivered to Corbett call for moratorium on natural gas drilling,” by Pennlive.com reporter Jan [...] Read more of this post
Great explanation on Sharon Wilson’s blog:
As the charts show, for about 1 million years, methane levels were always between 400 and 800 ppb. Then, all of sudden at the time of the industrial revolution (1850) when we started big time use of fossil fuels, levels of methane (and CO2) started to climb like crazy.
Today concentrations [of methane in the atmosphere] are over 1800 ppb, which means that we have essentially tripled (x3) the average concentration going back a million years.
Whether the leakage rate is 0.1%, 1%, 3%, 10%, doesn’t matter. As an analogy, think about people that are 400 pounds and really obese and suffering from heart disease. Whether they gain another 0.1, 1, 3, or 10 pounds every month moving forward doesn’t matter. Its the wrong question. They need to lose weight, not keep gaining. Translation: we need to stop poking holes in the earth to let the methane out, stop burning fossil fuels, and let nature over time bring the concentration of methane back to the 400 to 800 ppb range.
…The EPA still says natural gas operations are the leading source of methane.” MORE…
And from NRDC staff attorney Meleah Geertsma’s blog, some other relevant information:
- EPA’s current inventory is incomplete and continues to omit significant sources of methane pollution from the oil and gas sector. …For instance, the inventory does not fully account for the huge uptick in the number of new hydraulically fractured wells (a point I noted this summer with respect to the industry study) or completions of hydraulically fractured oil wells (a significant source of methane as EPA acknowledged in issuing standards for a North Dakota reservation last year, but which is not accounted for in the inventory).
- The revisions do not reflect or explain exceedingly high rates of methane pollution documented in studies by other federal agencies. …As such, they do not explain or account for the shockingly high rates of methane pollution in certain areas documented in field studies such as that by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than EPA has previously recognized. The figures in EPA’s revised inventory use the old value for methane’s “global warming potential” (GWP) – 21. EPA recently proposed to update methane’s GWP from 21 to 25. In other words, EPA will consider each ton of methane to have under 20% more warming force relative to a ton of CO2 than under the agency’s old and dated accounting system. And there is reason to believe methane’s global warming potential is even higher…” MORE…
And an excellent analysis of the authors’ bias (and its roots) and the Echo Chamber strategy of media parroting the nonsense at Shaleshock Media.
Posted in Athens Messenger, April 25, 2013 4:15 am | Updated: 11:21 pm, Thu Apr 25, 2013. By STEVE ROBB Messenger staff journalist
The Athens County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to support proposed state legislation that would ban disposal of fracking waste in injection wells.
The commissioners voted to signed on to a letter being circulated that voices support for legislation being proposed by State Reps. Denise Driehaus and Robert Hagan and State Senator Michael Skindell. The letter is addressed to the three Democratic legislators.
The letter cites environmental concerns about the chemicals used in fracking oil and gas wells, as well as toxic underground substances that are brought to the surface by the fracking process.
“Allowing Ohio to become a dumping ground for the waste resulting from hydraulic fracturing will leave a toxic legacy for generations of Ohioans,” the letter states. “We urge you to protect Ohioans from the flood of oil and gas industry waste and to sponsor legislation to ban the underground injection, discharge and surface spreading of liquid waste resulting from hydraulic fracturing.” More…
Fact check of industry job figures; Climate activist on 29th day of hunger strike; EPA slams Keystone study; Sandra Steingraber jailed, Tim deChristopher freed, and other recent headlines
Lawsuit against Obama administration and BLM over fracking national lands, following landmark court decision the previous week that declared a federal lease sale invalid for failing to address the risks of fracking.
Opponents of Keystone XL have submitted more than one million comments urging President Obama, Secretary Kerry and the State Department to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, following the publication of the latest deficient environmental review. There is a common message among the opponents of the pipeline: Keystone XL is all risk and no reward.
Dr. Anthony Ingraffea: methane leakage and black carbon make fracking worse than coal for climate change
Video published April 2013:
“It is much more effective in the short term term to fight climate change by reducing methane and black carbon [soot] than it is to reduce carbon dioxide. Obviously we want to reduce all three. And the computer models say that if we had begun to do that in 2010, we would…never get to that 2 degree centigrade temperature change. We’d give our kids and our grandkids a fighting chance….At all levels––production, processing, distribution, transmission, storage––an unacceptable level of methane and black carbon are being produced because of shale gas activity.”
Rupture of Exxon tar sands pipeline carrying Canadian tar sands to Gulf for export sickens residents and journalists, kills wildlife, and contaminates 10-square-mile Lake Conway and Arkansas River
Update May 8: WKATV: Arkansas Attorney General reports high levels of carcinogens persisting in Mayflower air.
Rep. Markey, MA, sends letter to Exxon CEO asking for clarification of Exxon’s conflicting statements and claims.
Update: Independent study documents continuing high levels of toxics in Mayflower air. 4-29-13: Community leader, April Lane, has been collecting health reports from residents since the pipeline rupture on March 29. Lane relayed that “even four weeks later, residents are still feeling symptoms from the chemical exposure. People have consistently talked about gastrointestinal problems, headaches, respiratory problems, skin irritation including chemical burns, and extreme fatigue.” These symptoms are consistent with exposure to the chemicals found in the independent air testing. More…
And more at DeSmogBlog.
Update 4-22: Check out images of the Canadian tar sands that creates this toxic brew and 475 million gallons of toxic waste a day (about nine times the amount of fuel).
Update 4-13: Unfiltered pumping of tar sands-contaminated water from the cove into the main body of Lake Conway during the Wednesday thunderstorm seen here. According to the article, Keith Stephens, of Ark. Fish and Game Commission, does not seem to know that tar sands sink. He said that the booms sitting on the lake would prevent movement of tar sands through the lake. How much more insane can things get?! Where is the mainstream media? Why is it that only citizen journalists are documenting this tragedy and travesty of justice?
Insideclimatenews: Records now show that the pipeline was not shut off for more than an hour after the first 911 report of a spill. It may have taken that long for anyone to figure out that the spill was Exxon’s 65-year-old pipeline, which residents did not know underlay their community.
Update 4-12: Latest estimates are up to 420,000 gallons spilled.
Update 4-11: No respirators being provided for workers directly handling tar sands material. Exxon Pressures Arkansas TV Stations To Ban Critical Ad. Wednesday’s storm washes tar sands from lake into lakeshore residents’ yards.
Update 4-10: Ark. AG: pipeline gash 22′ long, 2″ wide, much larger than previously thought. Exxon no-fly zone still in place.
Update 4-9-13: Apparently Exxon is trying to deny both that the spill is tar sands and that they are not paying tax on it into clean-up fund. Both lies debunked. Estimate of up to 300,000 gallons spilled; more on lack of protective gear, new smells reported by residents: Tarsandsblockade.org update.
And some humor from Heavy Crude Video:
Update 4-8-13: Exxon has power-washed its equipment into storm drains feeding a wetland adjoining Lake Conway and covered it with paper towels (note correction from earlier post):
See interviews with area residents sickened by the spill and more images at tarsandsblockade.org and explanations of connectivity of cove, lake, and Arkansas River. More on the inherent risks of tar sands pipelines at ecowatch.org.
Update 4-5-13: Media threatened with arrest for visiting command center in attempt to speak to federal authorities. EPA estimates 4,000-7,000 barrels or up to 294,000 gallons were spilled.
Update: 4-4-13: Exxon has made the spill area a press blackout zone. Exxon officials are in charge. The spill has reached coves of Lake Conway (aerial footage from Monday here). There is now a no-fly zone over the area so aerial photography can not be updated. Nearby residents who were not evacuated or yet contacted by Exxon are experiencing vomiting, headaches, and dizziness. Media is being kept from these homes in spite of owners’ permission to be on their land, apparently based on orders from Exxon. The federal government seems to be missing from the scene.
Previously updated 4-2-13: A 65-year old ExxonMobil underground pipeline ruptured in a Mayflower, Arkansas subdivision on Friday, forcing continued evacuation of two dozen homes and releasing hundreds of thousands of gallons* of Canadian tar sands bitumen, which is moving toward nearby Lake Conway, a drinking water source for the region. *So far, 12,000 barrels – over 500,000 gallons – of bitumin, toxic chemicals, and contaminated water have been recovered.
An apparent breach in the Pegasus pipeline occurred late Friday afternoon. The pipeline has been shut off and crews are working to contain the spill.
Exxon Mobil said it’s investigating the cause and working with local authorities in clean-up efforts. The pipeline carries tar sands bitumen** from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. The pipeline used to carry oil in the other direction: ”A change in the direction of flow can affect the hydraulic and stress demands on the pipeline,” according to an order issued by the U.S. Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Administration. The order directs Exxon to issue corrective action before the pipeline is reopened. Other tar sands pipelines being planned for both Canada and the U.S. would also reverse the direction of old pipelines.
Tar sands oil is the most toxic fossil fuel on the planet, which leaves in its wake scarred landscapes, a web of pipelines, polluting refineries and frequent ruptures (at least monthly in 2012): Sierra Club video on tar sands crude.
** Reports confirm the contents of the Pegasus pipeline as Wabasca heavy crude, to which benzene has been added in order to make it flow in pipelines. According to the Material Safety Data sheet for this diluted bitumen, or dilbit, “Due to presence of benzene, long term exposure may increase the risk of anemia and leukemia. Repeated skin contact may increase the risk of skin cancer.” According to the New York Times, pipeline officials do not have to reveal this content to authorities — apparently until caught in a situation such as is unfolding in Arkansas and has happened elsewhere with catastrophic results. Michigan’s experience with an Enbridge rupture in 2010 documents health effects and high benzene levels from tar sands spills. Propublica database on pipeline “incidents” here and more recent but less comprehensive federal PHMSA data here.
In 2009, Exxon increased the load being carried in the Pegasus pipeline by 50 percent to transport Canadian tar sands oil to 30,000 barrels a day. In a 2012 report, Bloomberg News reported the pipeline to be carrying 96,000 barrels of oil a day.
Exxon is exempt from federal oil clean up fund because tar sands are not classified as oil.
Listen or read Amy Goodman and Bill McKibben’s April 1 coverage of the story at Democracy Now here.
Exxon was recently fined $1.7 million for its 2011 spill of at least 1500 barrels of crude into the Yellowstone River.
The latest action against Keystone: 79-year old woman locks herself to equipment to block construction.
Please support resistance to the killing of our planet.
Athens County Fracking Action Network Joins Hundreds to Label “Fracking Peace Deal” a Bogus Scam
Athens OH- A growing movement of grassroots community groups in Ohio released a statement today that accompanied a letter sent to the Center for Sustainable Shale Development [sic] (CSSD). The letter called the deal supposedly reached by the Oil and Gas industry and “environmental groups” a complete fabrication.
The letter states, “We are in fact quite insulted that you presume to speak for Ohio citizens and Ohio environmental organizations. To date we have not found even one organization in our state that had any knowledge of this agreement, even though you have been working on it for the past two years. If indeed you have been working or communicating with environmental organizations in Ohio, please provide us with the name(s) of these organizations.”
Christine Hughes, owner of the Village Bakery, Della Zona, and Catalyst Café in Athens, spoke on behalf of Athens County Fracking Action Network, one of many community groups sending the letter. Hughes stated, “This so-called deal announced by the oxymoronically named Center for Sustainable Shale Development was clearly created as a stalling tactic, to allow industry to continue to pollute and profit while spinning public perception in their favor. Americans are sick of propaganda like this. We don’t have time for such theatrical distractions and greenwashing of harm being done right now by dangerous shale drilling. Time is running out to make peace with the planet.” Hughes continued, “We say to the American public and to our media, ‘Stop coddling these fracking freeloaders.’ Fracking has not been done safely, will not be done safely, and cannot be done safely. I’m shocked that any organization claiming to protect our welfare would go along with this ploy.”
The letter ended by stating, “It appears to us that your strictly voluntary standards are in reality business as usual for the industrialization and destruction of our communities by some of the same people who developed these so-called standards. We are putting you (CSSD), on notice that we, the citizens of Ohio, will not change our position on fracking based on this feeble attempt to pacify us with these worthless standards that have no standing in law. We vow to continue our fight against this destructive extraction industry and those that pretend to represent our environmental concerns.”