OH Governor Greenlights Fracking on State Lands
Monday, February 13, 2023
Environmentalists in Ohio say they're concerned oil and gas operations planned on state lands could harm the health and property of citizens living nearby.
Last month Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 507 into law, which approves licenses for companies seeking to extract natural resources from state lands.
Former U.S. Department of Energy scientist Yuri Gorby explained that oil and gas wells drilled into the Marcellus and Utica shale dredge-up radium, uranium, and potassium deposits, along with all of the chemicals used in the fracking process.
The result generates radioactive waste that can seep into the local drinking water supply.
"That the whole process is releasing this material," said Gorby, "and the potential, not just the potential but the reality, is those chemicals and radioactive elements are getting into surface and ground waters and being spread around."
Gorby pointed out there are no existing federal or state regulations that treat waste from fracking as hazardous material - known as the Halliburton Loophole in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
In a press statement, Gov. DeWine said he believes the new law does not fundamentally change the criteria and processes established by the Ohio General Assembly in 2011, that created the policy of leasing mineral rights under state parks and lands.
Gorby, now a private consultant, added that in addition to the public health impacts, the extraction, refining, and transportation of natural gas will significantly alter the landscape of public parks and lands.
"People in these areas that visit the state parks that enjoy nature," said Gorby, "they really need to know that the information that we are being given by our political leaders and the industry itself, is painting this as 'oh, when this is an operation, you won't even notice this well pad there.' And that is not true."
Pennsylvania-based Environmental Attorney Lisa Johnson said these operations could increase residents' exposure to toxic chemicals - noting that children, the elderly, and those living with disabilities are particularly vulnerable.
"Landowners need to be educated about this," said Johnson, "and demand that these materials be deemed hazardous and that they be regulated."
According to data from the state's Department of Natural Resources, more than 250,000 oil and natural gas wells have been drilled in Ohio.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
In the wake of the devastating overdose epidemic in North Carolina, the state's Department of Health and Human Services is stepping up to aid …
In cities across the globe, including the Michigan city of Midland, various organizations are commemorating International Day of Peace today…
Georgia's young people could shift the political landscape of the state in the near future. New data from the Brookings Institution indicates that …
In rural Alabama, where hurricanes and tornadoes are a constant threat, communities often struggle with damage and limited resources for extended …
A group of West Virginia Democratic delegates is calling for a special session to address West Virginia University's budget shortfall. Del. Evan …
While many Wyomingites of Hispanic descent came from Mexico, there is a lesser-known population from the old Spanish settlements of northern New …
People in rural America are five times as likely to live in so-called "ambulance deserts," areas far from an ambulance service or station, than those …
Health and Wellness
The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in Mississippi. About one in seven Mississippians lives with diabetes. Jernard A. Wells, cookbook …