ODNR Injection Well Permit Appealed

Formal Complaint to USEPA Filed


The Athens County Fracking Action Network (ACFAN) has filed a legal appeal of the K&H 2 injection well permit issued last month by Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Oil and Gas. The well would be the second on the property owned by K&H Partners of West Virginia, in Troy Township, Athens County, and would dispose of 168,000 gallons or more of frack waste per day. The appeal is the first of an ODNR injection well permit filed in over twenty years.

Filed on behalf of ACFAN by attorney Richard Sahli, the appeal to the Oil and Gas Commission follows formal objections by over one hundred area residents to the Oil and Gas Division during a September 2013 public comment period. The Athens County Commissioners, whose objections were among those filed, held a public meeting in November to hear public testimony after ODNR refused to hold a public hearing as requested by petitioners. The day following the Commissioners’ meeting, a 3.5 magnitude earthquake shook the county. Further objections, including another from the CommissionersAthens City Council, and an Ohio University geologist, poured into ODNR, which has still not addressed concerns about seismicity in the region. Several requests for public documents submitted in early December have still not been answered.

The appeal raises numerous technical and legal objections about the adequacy of the well proposal to protect local groundwater, including issues revealed in inspection reports at the existing K&H well, which has been operating on the property since last spring. The K&H1 data referenced includes repeated failure of well integrity, indicating geological characteristics that do not adequately confine the wastes.

The appeal also claims that “The Chief unlawfully and unreasonably approved the permit by requiring that the protective casing extend only to an inadequate depth of 1,900 feet in the approximately 4,000 foot deep borehole, thereby insufficiently confining the waste…”

The location of the planned K&H2 well

The location of the planned K&H 2 well (green arrow) in Troy Township near Coolville.
The existing K&H 1 well is marked with a red arrow (click on image to magnify).

ACFAN member Nancy Pierce said of the filing, “State oil and gas laws and regulations are so badly written and enforced that the only way we can protect ourselves is by challenging them though the courts.  Local officials have no power, because the state legislature has taken away all local control over oil and gas. Citizens have no power to protect themselves under an ODNR administration designed to protect the industry.”

The filing of ACFAN’s appeal was coordinated with Buckeye Forest Council’s (BFC) filing of a closely related complaint with USEPA Region 5. The BFC complaint addresses violations and safety issues raised by K&H1 inspection data. It asks USEPA to undertake an immediate review of K&H1 violations, “bring appropriate enforcement action in the federal courts against the injection well operator,” and “require ODNR to suspend the permit for the drilling of the second well” slated for the site “until such time that through credible and scientifically valid geologic characterization and seismic study have been completed.”

Teresa Mills, BFC Fracking Coordinator, stated, “We have become aware of numerous serious safety issues in construction and operation of the K&H1 well. With a second well permitted close by with clear potential for the same problems, the risk of groundwater contamination will snowball. It is up to citizens to act to protect our communities and water supply.”

One response to “ODNR Injection Well Permit Appealed

  1. Do you know what today’s C02 (carbons dioxide) level in the atmosphere is today? Yes, correct, it is 397 ppm (parts per million). The safe level, agreed upon globally, is 350 ppm. Man’s activities influence the climate of today & tomorrow. The use of dead (fossil) fuels worsens the dire consequences now thwarted upon us, with energy business as usual. The hydraulic fracturing (fracking) business has compounded the negative consequence of continued mining of coal, oil and gas.

    Each day articles flood social media regarding the harmful affects to us & Earth about frack-water usage, unprotected groundwater, mismanagement of toxic wastewater, fouled air emissions, catastrophic impacts to roadways and mega-mall size frack sites, and man-made caused seismic activity. Legislators & regulators allegiances are not to the common good via sound environmental practices, but with the obvious, self serving dis-information campaigns of an industry creating unnecessary, unwanted climatic conditions of change.

    One wishes one could sound a note of optimism, yet with the invisible CH4, (methane) greenhouse gas, causing 4 times, to a 100 times the misery of CO2 places on earth, such words can not be expressed. A political, environmental awakening of slumbered Ohioans, benefiting all earthlings, will bring hope through imperative transformative acts.

    Michael Scarmack, Lancaster

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