ODNR’s “responses” to over 100 public objections on the K&H2 injection well application do not address many relevant and substantive concerns. ODNR did not answer many objections. Some responses are outright untruths; others are extremely misleading. For ODNR to move forward with permitting would be irresponsible and in flagrant violation of its legal responsibility to protect drinking water as well in violation of the clear intent of Ohio law to address ANY relevant and substantive objections in a public hearing.
For example, “The U.S. EPA excludes certain wastes from the definition of hazardous because of their lower toxicity” (#16) is patently false. According to US EPA, “We all should recognize…that some Class II fluids are ten times nastier than some Class I injectates…There are many solvents, for example, that would be classified as hazardous and the wells injecting them as Class I if they were not used in conjunction with oil and gas production.” Class 2 wells are exempt due to Halliburton and other legislation, not due to actual toxicity. These exemptions do not relieve the state of its drinking water nonendangerment obligations.
“How does ODNR ensure that casing and tubing will withstand degradation by the injection fluid?” (#13) is not answered. The response does not state that materials won’t fail. It simply says what ODNR is supposed to do when they do fail. ODNR checks injection pressure every 11-12 weeks at best, time for a lot of fluid migration. How do they determine a leakage is “minor” or protect our water when this leakage occurs?
ODNR response #14 states, “The longevity of a well will depend upon the operator’s commitment to fluid treatment and regular well maintenance.” Given known well failures documented in industry and academic reports, this response does not assure confidence or the state’s mandated protection of our drinking water “until the end of time!”
#15 does not answer the question of total lack of water monitoring. It states that there can be leakage but claims it is contained within outer steel and cement casing, known to fail. The response also states that contamination would have to be discovered by area residents. The K&H2 application provided no data on whether or how geologists determined depths of drinking water supplies, thickness and nature of confining strata, and porosity. Public concern is therefore NOT addressed, especially given recent seismic activity and NO seismic study. What is the shearing potential of this well, for example, in an earthquake?
“How can a maximum [pressure] also be an average?” (#3) does not answer the question, understandably difficult since a maximum cannot also be an average (unless there is NEVER variance in injection pressure). Didn’t we learn about averages in about fourth grade? Answer #4 states that an average can be zero, which would also require there never be any pressure needed to inject 4000 barrels a day through a 2 2/3” tube to a rock layer 4000’ deep. Implausible to say the least. These are therefore still relevant and substantive concerns.
ODNR misleads in its comparisons to USEPA requirements. Key is that ODNR never approves of contents or even has a record of exact contents. “Ohio calculates the maximum allowable injection pressure in a more conservative and protective manner” misrepresents the facts. Unlike USEPA, which requires all contents to be reported to determine maximum pressure, ODNR uses a formula based in the specific gravity of production fluid from the Clinton formation, a shallow oil and gas layer. This does not account in any way for actual specific gravity of flowback from much deeper layers accessed and chemicals used in fracking. #11 also misleads since ODNR only uses an actual specific gravity when an operator requests a change in maximum pressure.
ODNR has NOT shown that ALL public objections are irrelevant and without substance or assured the public of its ability and commitment to carry out its federal and state-mandated responsibility to protect drinking water.