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Report: Enough Fracking Wastewater to Flood the Statehouse

PHOTO: A new report finds fracking operations in Ohio are producing 30 million gallons of wastewater each year. Photo: fracking site. Courtesy Western Resource Advocates.
PHOTO: A new report finds fracking operations in Ohio are producing 30 million gallons of wastewater each year. Photo: fracking site. Courtesy Western Resource Advocates.
October 4, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A new report is the first of its kind to measure the footprint of fracking in Ohio. Released by the Environment Ohio Research and Policy Center, the research finds Ohio drilling operations are producing 30 million gallons of wastewater each year, enough to flood the Ohio Statehouse under 90 feet of toxic waste. But that's not the only toll, according to Christian Adams, state associate with Environment Ohio.

"In addition, drillers pumped 4,600 tons of air pollution into the air in 2012, and since 2005 have used 1.4 billion gallons of fresh water, degraded 1,600 acres of land and released 420,000 tons of global-warming pollution into the atmosphere," he charged.

Adams said the numbers will only get worse if fracking's dirty toll on the environment continues unchecked. Since 2004 Ohio's Department of Natural Resources has maintained its sole right to regulate drilling operations in the state, but many communities feel the department isn't doing its job and are fighting that position.

Vanessa Pesec, president of NEOGAP, the Network for Oil and Gas Accountability and Protection, isn't shocked by the findings and said it only scratches the surface of the health threats of hydraulic fracturing. She declared that a moratorium is needed until safer ways to drill can be found.

"We need to find a safe way to dispose of the huge amount of waste that is being dumped into our state, or we need to clean it up and we need to do that before drilling continues," Pesec said.

Christian Adams said state leaders are not doing enough to protect citizens from dirty drilling, and it's time for Washington to step in.

"Columbus so clearly isn't working to protect Ohioans, their communities, their neighborhoods from the threat of fracking," he said. "It just underscores the need for federal action to help stop the worst impacts that fracking is already having on our communities in Ohio."

He added that a good first step would be to close the loophole exempting toxic fracking waste from the nation's hazardous waste law.

The report is at EnvironmentOhio.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH