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.
What can We Do about this?
By Bernhard Debatin
Fracking is likely to happen in Athens County due to strong economic interests, and with it comes a wide variety of undesirable and unintended consequences. Therefore, the focus of concerned citizens’ activities should be on effective damage control strategies. This part of Concerned About Fracking? will deal with the first of three main damage control strategies: (1) monitoring drinking water. The other two strategies are (2) monitoring community disruption and (3) a moratorium on fracking; they will be explored in the third part of this series.
Obviously, the risk of being affected by accidents and contamination increases the closer one is located to a drilling site. However, water and air pollution travel fast and widely. For instance, it’s not just the landowner’s water well that may get polluted. Aquifers are interconnected underground water systems, usually located in permeable and porous rock through which water can easily move. There’s a good chance that contamination of a water well near a drilling pad may spread through the larger aquifer system.
The most pressing issue is proper monitoring of drinking water sources. Because of the lack of accountability and effective regulation, we have to be seriously concerned that private and municipal water sources will be contaminated. The fracking industry’s track record of wastewater spills, sludge pond overflows, reckless wastewater dumping, and aquifer contamination with fracking chemicals and methane is impressive. Continue reading