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