Category Archives: Regulations

Athens County to become a County Charter?

To Prevent Fracking and Wastewater Injection, Athens County Shall Become a  Charter Government

By Bernhard Debatin

The Athens Bill of Rights Committee (BORC) has prepared a petition to turn Athens County into a charter government, to be voted on in the November election (full text see below). The charter form of government would give residents of Athens County a broader range of self-determination than the current form does. To be on the November ballot, 1440 signatures from voting-age Athens County residents are needed by June 24 (follow this link for a PDF of the Petition with a signature list).

In particular, the Charter would allow Athens County to prohibit the disposal of toxic fracking wastewater and also the extraction of water to be used for fracking. Under the current form of government, the State of Ohio, represented by the Oil and Gas Division of ODNR, permits and regulates fracking and wastewater injection.

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ODNR Issues Permit for K&H 3 Injection Well Without Considering Concerns

A Story of Lies and Willful Ignorance

By Bernhard Debatin

According to a report in the Athens News from March 25, 2015, ODNR has permitted the third K&H injection well, located at the K&H facility near Torch in the Southeast of Athens County. Continue reading

Don’t let fracking waste be shipped on our waterways!

A letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the permit application for a barge unloading and pipeline facility in Meigs County, Ohio

Context:

The proposal by GreenHunter, a Texas-based frackwaste company, is to build a barge off-loading facility on the Ohio River in Portland, Meigs County. The dock would unload as much as 1 million barrels, or 42 million gallons of frack waste at once. After storage in aboveground tanks, the waste will be trucked to injection wells around the region. Barging of liquid frack waste has not been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, which received as many as 60,000 public comments opposing the proposal.

The dock proposal has not been given official notice in state or local media. The online notice posted by the Corps June 27 specifies that public comments must be hard copies and received at the Corps’ Huntington office by July 28, which has, due to over 340 comments submitted, been extended to Aug. 24. Also, a subsequent verbal and written statement by Teresa Spagna, Project Manager with the Corps, assures us that E-MAIL COMMENTS ARE ACCEPTABLE.
(from: Acfan.org)

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Feel free to copy this letter and email it to the address below!
COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED TO Aug. 24
Please visit Acfan.org for additional information.
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The Ethics of Fracking

By Bernhard Debatin

As controversial as it is, fracking is not often discussed in terms of its ethics. The 37 minute-long video The Ethics of Fracking, by the Scott Cannon and the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, provides a good discussion of the various ethical issues of fracking. It shows that fracking leads to a number of ethical problems and serious side-effects, ranging from the contamination of drinking water, to air and noise pollution, to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and to disrupting communities and creating long-term risks and costs for our society.

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The Earthquake and the Dangers of Injection Wells – Part 2: The Inherent Dangers of Injection Wells

By Bernhard Debatin

In Part 1, we have seen that the knowledge about the seismic makeup of Athens County is rather limited and that the recent earthquake should be a wakeup call for citizens and regulators. Indeed, data from all over the country indicate that wastewater injection can induce earthquakes, including a recent 5.7 magnitude earthquake near Prague, Oklahoma, on November 5, 2011.

Similar to the supposedly dead Starr Fault in Athens Counts, the Oklahoma earthquake originated from the Wilzetta Fault that was believed to be dead, too. The recent accumulation of earthquakes in previously seismically inactive zones have worried scientists:  “These so-called ‘earthquake swarms’ are occurring in other places where the ground is not supposed to move. There have been abrupt upticks in both the size and frequency of quakes in Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, and Texas. Scientists investigating these anomalies are coming to the same conclusion: The quakes are linked to injection wells.” Continue reading

The Earthquake and the Dangers of Injection Wells – Part 1: Geological Uncertainties

By Bernhard Debatin

Note: This is an extended version of an article that was published in the Athens News (online on Nov. 27, 2013)

In a moment of unparalleled irony, an earthquake struck Athens County southeast of Nelsonville on November 20, just a day after citizen of the area gathered at the Athens Community Center to voice their concerns about injection wells in Athens County. While the earthquake should give reason to pause, ODNR spokesperson Mike Bruce was quick to assert that this was “a natural earthquake” and that “there’s no way this was man-made.” (Athens News, November 25, 2013). The Youngstown shockwaves can still be felt in this attempt to separate this seismic event from the injection of large amounts of toxic fracking fluids into the underground. Continue reading

After Earthquake: Stop Injection Wells in Athens County Now!

Letter to ODNR

By Bernhard Debatin

Dear Director Zehringer and Chief Simmers,

I am respectfully submitting my comments and concerns regarding the K&H2 permit application in Athens County.

In accordance with Ohio Revised Code 1501:9-3-06 (C), I ask you to immediately suspend the permit process for the K&H well and initiate thorough seismic and other necessary studies before further considering permitting this injection well. Furthermore and in accordance with Ohio Revised Code 1501:9-3-06 (D), I ask you to suspend delivery of fracking waste fluids to the existing injection wells in Athens County until seismic studies have been concluded. I also ask you to take appropriate measures to seismically monitor the wells and to monitor potential waste water migration by drilling monitoring wells around the existing injection wells according to EPA standards. Continue reading