The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
BREAKING: Ohio Residents Blockade Fracking Wastewater Injection Well Site
Ohio residents are blocking access to an injection well in Trumbull County this morning, protesting the failure of Ohio regulators to adequately test and monitor the dumping of toxic fracking wastewater in the state.
Trumbull County residents, along with supporters from Frack Free Mahoning and Ohio Fracktion, are gathered at the well site on Sodom Hutchings Road in Vienna Township, to express concerns about the contents of the 1,000 gallons of fracking wastewater that spilled along five miles of road in Fowler Township, a nearby residential area, on July 7.
They are demanding that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) begin testing out-of-state frack wastewater that is being injected into more than 170 wells throughout Ohio. One protester has locked himself to the gate to prevent trucks carrying fracking wastewater from entering the site.
According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) spokesperson Mike Settles, emergency responders conducted only a simple pH test of the fracking wastewater that spilled along the roads of Fowler Township. As far as further testing for radiation, heavy metals and other chemicals that could be present in the spilled fracking wastewater, Settles explained that the OEPA doesn’t “have the resources" to perform testing unless there is a "legitimate concern” of environmental damage. However, thick, rust colored residue was still visible on the road one week after the spill.
Liberal Township Trustee Jodi Stoyak expressed her frustration with OEPA’s response in a July 12 letter to Mr. Settles, noting “many of the chemicals used in [fracking] and contained in the waste are officially classified individually as hazardous…. This, in my opinion, is a huge environmental concern.”
ODNR officials have ignored numerous written and oral requests from Ohio residents to order testing of the countless gallons of out-of-state fracking wastewater injected underground into Ohio each year. In response to a recent public records request asking ODNR to release all testing relevant to fracking waste, ODNR geologist Tom Tomastik provided no results taken after 1989.
A 2011 New York Times report revealed a widespread, massive presence of radioactive materials in fracking wastewater, including levels over 1,000 times federal drinking water standards.
A recent independently tested sample of fracking wastewater from Athens County revealed elevated levels of barium, arsenic, toluene, alpha particles and diesel particles nearly 300,000 times the federal standard for drinking water. State Representative Bob Hagan contacted the ODNR with a copy of these results on June 27 and requested that the ODNR begin testing fracking wastewater, citing his “serious concern that the safety and health of Ohio citizens is in jeopardy from the chemical contents of fracking wastewater.” As of July 16, he has received no reply.
This blockade comes just weeks after Madeline ffitch of Athens County chained herself to two barrels, blocking access to an injection well in west of Athens, Ohio. A statewide call-in day to demand that ODNR initiate a statewide brine-testing program is scheduled for Tuesday.
“How can the ODNR possibly allow fracking companies to dump untold volumes of fracking waste in our communities if they won’t even test it? How can they reassure us that a 1,000 gallon spill of waste is safe if they don’t even know what was in the fluid that was spilled?” asks Reverend Monica Beasley-Martin from Trumbull County. “We have been asking too long, and we have had enough. We need safe water and clean air. Ohio is not a sacrifice zone, and Ohio is not a dumping ground. ODNR: test the fracking waste now!”
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Bijal Trivedi
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.
By Joe Vukovich
Under the guise of responding to consumer complaints that today's energy- and water-efficient dishwashers take too long, the Department of Energy has proposed creating a new class of dishwashers that wouldn't be subject to any water or energy efficiency standards at all. The move would not only undermine three decades of progress for consumers and the environment, it is based on serious distortions of fact regarding today's dishwashers.
By Emily Moran
If you have oak trees in your neighborhood, perhaps you've noticed that some years the ground is carpeted with their acorns, and some years there are hardly any. Biologists call this pattern, in which all the oak trees for miles around make either lots of acorns or almost none, "masting."
By Catherine Davidson
Tashi Yudon peeks out from behind a net curtain at the rooftops below and lets out a sigh, her breath frosting on the windowpane in front of her.
Some 700 kilometers away in the capital city Delhi, temperatures have yet to dip below 25 degrees Celsius, but in Spiti there is already an atmosphere of impatient expectation as winter settles over the valley.