Tag Archives: air quality

Why the new K&H #3 Injection Well is Wrong

By Bernhard Debatin

ODNR NEEDS TO CONDUCT A PUBLIC HEARING

As documented by Acfan, a permit application for the new K&H 3 injection well at the existing K&H facility is currently pending. This would make the K&H facility the largest such operation in Ohio. Over the past years, Ohio has become a major importer of fracking wastewater from other states, due to its low taxation rates and lax regulations. Injection wells in Ohio are not monitored by the (more stringent) federal EPA, but by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Oil and Gas Resources, which has laxer regulations and less oversight. Coincidentally, ODNR also profits from the wastewater dumping, as it rakes in the fees for it. Continue reading

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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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Who Poisons Whom With Chemicals?

By Bernhard Debatin

The Boston bombing and other such horrible events have shown that preparedness for domestic terrorism is a necessity. Therefore, one might think it wouldn’t be that bad if “Area officials undergo training to combat terroristic events,” as the Athens Messenger titled on December 11, 2013.

However, the choice of the simulated event, “a fake anti-fracking extremist group that was planning on launching a chemical attack on Ohio University’s Convocation Center” and that was running a “mock bioterrorism lab,” shows a cynical lack of judgment by the involved authorities. Such thoughtless scenario vilifies the anti-fracking movement as a whole and identifies it casually with terrorism, while it is in fact a non-violent and broad coalition of concerned citizens. Continue reading

Ohio University Environmental Studies Board Members Approve Resolution on Fracking

Environmental Studies Advisory Board

Resolution on Hydraulic Fracturing at Ohio University

The undersigned members of the Environmental Studies Advisory Board approved the following resolution:

As the fracking boom is reaching Southeast Ohio, it is important to remember that our region has experienced short-lived boom-to-bust resource extraction before. The coal boom of the late 19th and early 20th century left Southeast Ohio in a state of environmental degradation and deforestation. The economic benefits went one-sidedly to a few corporations and individuals, while the population remained impoverished and the environment degraded. Poverty, like the environmental impacts, extends to the present day with Athens County posting the highest poverty rate in the state at 32.8 percent.[i]

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Athens County Commissioners Likely to Vote Fracking Resolution

This coming Thursday, the Athens County Commissioners are likely to vote on a resolution about fracking. The meeting will take place on Feb. 9., 9:30 a.m., in the Athens County Courthouse’s Annex, second floor.

You can express your views in advance by contacting the commissioners: 

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New Study: Severe Health Impact of Fracking

By Bernhard Debatin

A new study on the Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health (*) shows that fracking fluids, methane gas exposure, and other gas-drilling related contamination can have a serious impact on the health of both humans and animals. The study, conducted by private practice veterinarian Michelle Bamberger and Robert E. Oswald of the Department of Molecular Medicine at Cornell University, investigated 24 different sites with gas wells, 18 of which were horizontal hydro-fractured wells. The researchers observed and documented severe changes in health of both humans and animals living close to these sites. The majority of the observed animals were cows; other animals included horses, goats, llamas, chickens, dogs, cats, and koi.

Bamberger and Oswald interviewed animal owners affected by gas drilling in six different states (Colorado, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas). In addition, they obtained lab test results and data from drilling companies and state regulatory agencies. The most striking finding of the study is the death of over 100 cows, caused by their exposure to fracking fluids or drinking of fracking wastewater that was dumped or leaked into freshwater sources. Continue reading

Concerned About Fracking? — Part 1: The Three Waves

Here’s why we should be concerned

By Bernhard Debatin

Fracking comes like a storm to the affected areas, and it comes in multiple waves. We’ve seen the first wave in Athens county: the leasing frenzy. All it took was the creation of a purported “last minute opportunity” and many people were willing to sign leases that do not sufficiently protect the interests of the landowners. Some people may notice too late that there are Clauses With Consequences in these contracts, as the New York Times put it in a recent article. A worthwhile list of such regrettable clauses is provided in the NYT “Layman’s Guide to Lease Terms.”

The second, even more forceful wave, is what Paul Feecel, a  landowner from Carroll County and  chair of the Carroll Concerned Citizens group, described as “an invasion” at a recent presentation at the Athens High School (on Dec. 7): Continue reading