Questions Linger in Ohio Fracking Waste Spill
Monday, February 11, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The unlawful disposal of thousands of gallons of fracking waste in Ohio is drawing the ire of residents and environmental groups. The Ohio EPA is investigating the intentional dumping of an estimated 20,000 gallons of crude oil and brine into a storm drain in Youngstown by Hard Rock Excavating. The incident occurred on Jan. 31, but was not reported for five days.
Julian Boggs, state policy advocate with Environment Ohio, said it was a company whistleblower, not state regulators, who uncovered the violation.
"The lesson we need to take and learn from this is that we have a serious, serious problem with fracking waste in this state," he said, "and we do not have an adequate system in place in order to protect public health and protect the environment."
Fracking opponents criticized state regulators for not disclosing details about the quantity of waste or the chemicals involved in the spill. Boggs called this situation evidence that Ohio has rushed into allowing fracking without considering the consequences. While the whole process should be re-examined, Boggs said, a first step would be to include fracking in hazardous waste laws.
"Ohio really is becoming a regional dumping ground for toxic and radioactive waste, and we just don't want or deserve that title," he said.
More than 6 million barrels of fracking waste from Pennsylvania and West Virginia were dumped in Ohio in 2011. Boggs complained that no proper regulations are in place for disposing of fracking waste from Ohio and other states.
"With millions and millions of barrels of this stuff coming over the border from Pennsylvania, and more being created here in our own state," he said, "it's becoming a serious problem that we're not adequately dealing with."
The industry says the brine and fluids used in the fracking process are largely safe, but opponents contend the process pollutes groundwater with toxic chemicals, creating threats to public health. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the state has some of the most comprehensive oil and gas regulations in the nation to safeguard the public and the environment.
D&L Energy, which owns Hardrock Excavating, has not addressed the alleged violation. Ohio has permanently revoked the operating permits of both companies.
get more stories like this via email
Groups fighting for Palestinian rights are praising a new fact sheet on religious discrimination from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for …
Lawmakers and immigrants-rights activists in the Commonwealth are hoping to pass the Language Access and Inclusion Act, which would dramatically …
New U.S. Department of Agriculture rules will target fraud and increase oversight of the $64 billion-a-year organic food industry. In Iowa, the …
By Jennifer Weiss-Wolf for Ms. Magazine.Broadcast version by Eric Galatas for Colorado News Connection reporting for the Ms. Magazine-Public News …
Health and Wellness
With Black History Month underway, Wisconsin researchers and support groups are highlighting the disparities in cases of Alzheimer's disease…
North Dakota's plan to boost animal agriculture has reignited a thorny issue: loosening restrictions on corporate ownership of farms. The state said …
Oregon is pursuing an aggressive climate plan to switch to renewable energy sources, but it faces one often overlooked issue: enough high-voltage …
A measure in the Washington State Legislature would provide free school meals to K-12 students, but nutrition service workers are worried they are …