COMMUNITY ADVOCATES CALL ON US-EPA
TO TAKE AWAY OHIO’S AUTHORITY OVER INJECTION WELL PROGRAM
Athens community advocates will hold a rally in front of the Athens County Courthouse on Monday, March 18, at noon calling on US-EPA to investigate Ohio’s management of injection well regulation and to take away Ohio’s authority to regulate the program.
“Ohio Department of Natural Resources is not doing its job,” stated Grace Hall, member of Athens County Fracking Action Network, the event’s sponsor. “ODNR should be protecting Ohioans from carcinogenic, radioactive frack waste. Instead, it allows waste injection wells to operate for years after they have failed serious safety inspections.”
The group cites two particularly egregious violators: “For 25 years ODNR continued to issue permits for new injection wells to D&L Energy, a company with a history of at least 120 citations, serious violations and well suspensions. D&L and its owner, Ben Lupo, finally made the news when his employees were stopped while intentionally dumping radioactive, carcinogenic drilling and frack waste into a storm drain. Lupo was cited with federal violations for dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons over a period of months. Only after weeks of tips did ODNR finally step in,” Hall explained.
In Athens County, ODNR has allowed Athens County’s Ginsburg well to continue receiving toxic waste through decades of serious violations and well failures and long periods of no inspections (see Ginsburg violation history at Appalachiaresist.wordpress.com). ODNR does not test or monitor for water or soil contamination.
The rally call states, “Ohio is not the nation’s toxic toilet. Join us to call on USEPA to take away Ohio’s authority over injection wells.” It is being held in conjunction with filing of a citizens’ petition to USEPA, initiated by Teresa Mills, Buckeye Forest Council Fracking Coordinator, and signed onto by groups and individuals around the state. The petition calls on USEPA to do a full audit and investigation of ODNR’s Underground Injection Control (UIC) program and for a suspension of Ohio’s authority to administer the program. The letter states that Ben Lupo and the Ginsburg well violation history are just the tip of the Iceberg. The rally is being held in conjunction with events around the state, including Youngstown and Portage County.
Crissa Cummings, another organizer of the Athens event, stated, “Last year over 500 million gallons of toxic, radioactive frack waste was dumped in Ohio communities. Over half of this came from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. We desperately need public servants who can protect us from the money-hungry fracking industry. ODNR obviously can’t. We need USEPA to take back permitting and regulation of Class II injection wells. In Pennsylvania where USEPA is in charge, there are five operating injection wells. Ohio has 179, with more on the way, despite landowner resistance.”
One example of landowner resistance is the Atha injection well permit being opposed by Athens County Commissioners and hundreds of Athens County citizens and contested by the landowner of the land where the well is proposed, Ms. Melvina Mae Frost (see Ecowatch coverage and acfan.org for pertinent documents).
Teresa Mills, Buckeye Forest Council Fracking Coordinator (614) 539-1471, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Grace Hall, Athens County Fracking Action Network 740-590-0500, email@example.com
Crissa Cummings, Millfield resident, 740-448-1017; 740-274-3305