Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Dumping of Toxic Fracking Wastewater Reaffirms Natural Gas Industry Free-for-All in Ohio

Energy
Dumping of Toxic Fracking Wastewater Reaffirms Natural Gas Industry Free-for-All in Ohio

Environment Ohio

Employees of Tom’s Septic and Sewer in McDonald, who declined to give their names, clean brine Tuesday morning from a storm sewer along Salt Springs Road in Youngstown. In the background is the D&L Energy office building. The spill occurred last week on the property. Photo by Brenda J. Linert

A week after the dumping of at least 20,000 gallons of toxic and potentially radioactive fracking waste into a storm drain that empties into a tributary of the Mahoning River in Youngstown, Ohio, by Hard Rock Excavating, state regulators have yet to disclose information about the quantity of waste and the chemicals involved. Environmental advocates are urging the state to act quickly to prosecute the perpetrator and look beyond the one incident to take more aggressive steps to protect the state’s public health and environment from future threats.

“The degree of chutzpah exhibited by Hard Rock in this instance is astounding—but it’s almost what you would expect in a state where we have one enforcement staffer for every 2,000 oil and gas wells,” said Julian Boggs, Environment Ohio state policy advocate, noting that it was a company whistleblower, not state regulators, who uncovered the flagrant violation.

“We have a legislature that seems more interested in greasing the wheels for fracking companies than protecting public health and the environment—that only enables reckless behavior.”

As a case in point, last year’s major oil and gas bill, SB 315 was opposed by most of the state’s environmental groups. The bill nominally strengthened some drilling rules, but dealt a huge deal to public right-to-know by banning medical professionals from disclosing information about fracking chemicals.

Boggs lauded State Rep. Bob Hagan of Youngstown for his response to the spill. Rep. Hagan has personally investigated the site of the dumping and pushed state regulators to deal with the problem quickly and thoroughly. “If all our lawmakers showed the level of dedication and commitment to their constituents’ public health and the environment of their constituents that Rep. Hagan has during this process, Ohio would simply be a safer, healthier place to grow up and raise a family,” Boggs said.

“This oil spill, and the state’s inability to give handle the problem right away, is just further evidence that Ohio dove in head first to the fracking rush without really looking at all,” said Boggs. “Industry and policymakers seem to have no credible plan for what to do with all this waste, and how to keep Pennsylvania’s trash out of our backyard.” More than six million barrels of fracking waste from Pennsylvania and West Virginia were dumped in Ohio in 2011.

Fracking waste is a mixture of injected chemicals, sand and water, and corrosive salts and radioactive heavy metals that bubbles up from deep underground. As a result, waste presents an even broader array of health risks than fracking fluid itself, including radiation levels up to 3,600 times what is allowable in drinking water.

Some of the lenient regulation for fracking waste can be attributed to its exemption from the nation’s hazardous waste law—the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Environment Ohio and others believe that as a matter of course, Congress and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should move quickly to restore this loophole.

“Ultimately, this waste dilemma should really make our leaders stop and think twice about whether this whole fracking business is a good idea at all.” concluded Boggs.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Sign the petition today, telling President Obama to enact an immediate fracking moratorium:

 

Journalists film a protest by the environmental organization BUND at the Datteln coal-fired power plant in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on April 23, 2020. Bernd Thissen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Lead partners of a global consortium of news outlets that aims to improve reporting on the climate emergency released a statement on Monday urging journalists everywhere to treat their coverage of the rapidly heating planet with the same same level of urgency and intensity as they have the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Airborne microplastics are turning up in remote regions of the world, including the remote Altai mountains in Siberia. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Getty Images

Scientists consider plastic pollution one of the "most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century," but so far, microplastic research has mostly focused on the impact on rivers and oceans.

Read More Show Less
Trending
A laborer works at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China on Oct. 7, 2010. Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

By Michel Penke

More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history.

Read More Show Less
Scientists are studying barley, the key ingredient in beer. Ridofranz / Getty Images

Researchers at UC-Riverside are investigating how barley, a key ingredient in beer, survives in such a wide variety of climates with hopes of learning what exactly makes it so resilient across climates.

Read More Show Less
Air France airplanes parked at the Charles de Gaulle/Roissy airport on March 24, 2020. SAMSON / AFP via Getty Images

France moved one step closer this weekend to banning short-haul flights in an attempt to fight the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less