As the Youngstown Vindicator reported today, the Youngstown area had not had a recorded earthquake before St. Patrick’s Day this year (the real one, not the one Kasich declared.)  Today’s Vindy says that the area has had ten alone.

Some in the area believe the earthquakes are being caused due to fracking-related activity in the region:

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has found no conclusive link between the earthquakes and the D&L Energy Inc. brine-injection well on Ohio Works Drive in Youngstown, but on Friday ordered the well to cease operations until the bottom 250 feet of the well is plugged, to ensure no brine water is entering the nearly impermeable Precambrian formation and to “eliminate any perceived [earthquake] accusations.”

The well accepts fluids from fracking, a process that extracts natural gas and oil from deep under the ground.

That’s a nice way of saying it’s a waste dump.

Since the story came out this morning, however, the region just had its eleventh quake, and by far the most intense one, registering 4.0 on the Richter scale.

Remember, ODNR stopped activity at the well to “eliminate any perceived accusations” that it was responsible for earthquakes.

In other words, to shut the filthy hippies up.

But now that there’s been an even more intense earthquake in the region.  Governor Kasich’s operation does the only thing they do well: take credit for “taking action” for things they long dismissed:

image State Representative Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown) is calling for a moratorium on such fracking injection wells, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Sen. [sic] Bob Hagan, Democrat of Youngstown, said there have been a dozen quakes in the last year, four within the last couple of months, "ever since the drilling started."

Hagan said he asked the U.S. EPA "to intervene because of the possibility of another quake. "My suspicion is that fracking injection wells are to blame," he said.

Hagan said he has asked Bill Batchelder, speaker of the Ohio house, to set up bipartisan joint hearings involving the house and senate, but the speaker has ignored his calls. He also said he tried in vain throughout Saturday to reach Gov. John Kasich.

"People have accused me of saying the sky is falling, but when the earth is moving, it’s a good idea to find out why," Hagan said in a telephone interview.

It appears the debate within the ODNR as to whether fracking is responsible for the unprecedented seismic activity in Youngtown isn’t just hippy fear mongering after all:

Mike Hanson, coordinator of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ seismic network, said Saturday that "the suspicion is that the earthquakes are not naturally occurring. They are induced."

Hanson said ODNR shut down an injection well west of Youngstown on Friday, but quakes could still occur because the pressure has not yet dissipated.

In other words, the fracking pumping wasn’t stopped simply to eliminate the “crazy” accusations, but that because ODNR had solid scientific “data” that suggested the pressure of the well was responsible.  After all, how else do you explain Hanson’s statement that the earthquake was the result of pressure in the well has no yet dissipated?

Fracking has been a favorite of Governor John Kasich.  In fact, in today’s Columbus Dispatch, it was revealed that Kasich is in talks to bring a major Shell ethane cracker plant to Ohio… something the oil giant needs to capitalize on fracking natural gas trapped in the Utica Shale.

Kasich’s support for the plant was bolstered, it should be mentioned, by letters in support by Democrats such as U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Congressman Tim Ryan, State Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro, and House Minority Leader Armond Budish.

But support of fracking does not equal into opposition to responsible regulation and oversight of fracking.  Regardless, as Kasich has spent much this month talking up fracking as a major policy and economic issue for 2012, today’s event was not just a geological earthquake, but a political one as well.

Evangelize!
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  • kmo

    Gov. Kasich is monitoring the situation safely from Florida where Ohio earthquakes indeed seem more ‘minor’.  So officially 11 earthquakes in Youngstown in 2011- shall they go for 12 in 2012?  

  • Anonymous

    I know Mike Hanson of the Ohio Geological Survey.  He is a widely respected and honest state Geologist.  I believe him when he suspects these quakes are not natural…Jim, Columbus

  • MrsD

    As you read AP or other articles regarding the earthquakes in the area
    of an injection well in Youngstown, you, like me, may have noticed that in all
    articles Kasich’s spokespeople, from ODNR through the Ohio EPA, contend that
    this well and others in Ohio meet all US EPA guidelines.

     

    What they do not say is that since 2005 there are little if any US EPA
    guidelines on fracking or injection wells.

     

    For those with a short memory in 2005, VP Dick Cheney 2005 personally
    pushed through Congress an exemption to hydraulic fracturing from federal
    regulation via specific language tucked into the Energy Policy Act.

     

    The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Ultra-deepwater and Unconventional
    Resources Program) act, which to any good reporter would be top of the mind as
    it is the very same piece of legislation that is often referred to as the
    “Halliburton Loophole” in that that it provided protections to the economic
    interests of both BP and Halliburton following the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

     

     Here are the key elements of it
    as it pertains to Fracking and Injection Wells:

     

     ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 2005.

     

     SEC. 322. HYDRAULIC FRACTURING.

    Paragraph (1) of section 1421(d) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42
    U.S.C. 300h(d)) is amended to read as follows:

    ‘‘(1) UNDERGROUND INJECTION.—The term ‘underground injection’—

    ‘‘(A) means the subsurface emplacement of fluids by well injection; and

    ‘‘(B) excludes—

     ‘‘(i) the underground injection
    of natural gas for purposes of storage; and

    ‘‘(ii) the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other
    than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil,
    gas, or geothermal production activities.’’.

     

     SEC. 323. OIL AND GAS
    EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION DEFINED.

     Section 502 of the Federal Water
    Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1362) is amended by adding at the end the
    following:

    ‘‘(24) OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION.—The term ‘oil and gas
    exploration, production, processing, or treatment operations or transmission
    facilities’ means all field activities or operations associated with
    exploration, production, processing, or treatment operations, or transmission
    facilities, including activities necessary to prepare a site for drilling and
    for the movement and placement of drilling equipment, whether or not such field
    activities or operations may be considered to be construction activities.’’.

     

    So, any article that states fracking and injection wells in Ohio meet
    Federal EPA guidelines is totally incomplete.

     

    To those who want to know exactly how Cheney and the gas/oil industry
    put their profits ahead of protecting the environment, drinking water, and the
    general health of American citizens read here: http://www.netl.doe.gov/?technologies/oil-gas/EPAct2005/?Research_Program/ORD_TOC.html  or Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Ultra-deepwater
    and Unconventional Resources Program) – ORD Projects http://www.netl.doe.gov

  • http://plunderbund.com Joseph

    Modern methods of measuring magnitude do differ from the original Richter methods, but technically the scales match.

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/aboutus/docs/020204mag_policy.php

  • Jason

    An article on CNN.com today (
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/01/us/ohio-earthquake/index.html?npt=NP1 ) has the following:

    Dr. Won-Young Kim, one of the Columbia University experts asked by the state to examine possible connections between fracking and seismic activity, said that a problem could arise if fluid moves through the ground and affects “a weak fault, waiting to be triggered.” He explained the underground waste “slowly migrates” and could cause issues miles away, adding that the danger could persist for some time as the fluid travels and seeps down toward the fault.”In my opinion, yes,” the recent spate of earthquakes around Youngstown is related to a fluid-injection well, Kim stated — though there has been no definitive determination, by the state or other authorities, indicating as much.Mind, I will freely admit that I know nothing of Dr. Kim, either in regards to his area of expertise or his reputation, but that’s a pretty strong and direct statement he makes.

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