3.5M quake in Athens County, fifteen hours after injection well meeting. The earth saying, “Time for direct action”?

A 3.5M earthquake shook Athens, Nelsonville, and surrounding areas yesterday, frightening many in their shaking homes and many aware of the clear implications for our drinking water. Our land is becoming riddled with holes into which massive quantities of toxic, radioactive frack waste are being dumped. And we now know that this is happening in a seismically active area as well as one pockmarked with abandoned wells and mines and flowing with acid mine drainage, which speeds wells’ inevitable pipe and cement corrosion and degradation. How safe do you feel with ODNR at the wheel?

The quake was possibly the largest ever originating in Athens County (there was possibly one similar in size in 1886. Records are contradictory.) It is less than a mile from an abandoned injection well along the Hocking River that received over 2 million gallons of oil and gas field waste before being “plugged” a decade ago.

ACFAN issued the following press statement following the quake:

ACFAN considers the Athens County 3.5M earthquake (11-20-13, epicenter near Doanville, 2 mi. SE of Nelsonville) an alarming occurrence given imminent approval by ODNR of an Athens County injection well that will dump 168,000 gallons a day (63,000,000 gallons/year) of toxic radioactive frack waste below our community. Approval would make the K&H site the largest facility in the state. The 3.5 quake makes it the largest ever with an epicenter in Athens County.  

The occurrence of this quake makes it unconscionable and illegal for ODNR to permit the K&H2 well without a seismic survey of the region. Migration of waste into drinking water due to future quakes would put tens of thousands of people at risk. Even Tuppers Plains’ C-8 treatment cannot clean radioactive water. Underground injection well programs MUST protect drinking water by state and federal law.

The science on induced quakes is clear: injection can cause earthquakes. Whether or not this particular quake was caused by injection wells (the nearest active injection well is less than ten miles away), the occurrence demands of ODNR that an adequate seismic study be required before further considering permitting this dangerous well.
People are urged to write ODNR Director James Zehringer (james.zehringer@dnr.state.oh.usand Chief Simmers (Rick.Simmers@dnr.state.oh.us) to demand that the K&H2 permit process be suspended. People are also encouraged to contact USEPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman hedman.susan@epa.gov to demand suspension of all Ohio Class II injection well permitting until a full USEPA audit is conducted. Please also write Sherrod Brown’s office either using his online form or by writing jeanne_wilson@brown.senate.gov.

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