The Youngstown area experienced an earthquake on New Year’s Eve. It was the 11th earthquake of 2011 in the area, which is really quite surprising since there were no earthquakes here in 2010, or 2009, or any year ever that anyone can remember. According to Bloomberg no earthquakes had been recorded near Youngstown “until D&L Energy Inc. began injecting wastewater from drilling into a 9,300-foot disposal well in December 2010.”

The D&L well, like many of Ohio’s 181 disposal wells, is pumped full of excess fracking liquid, a mixture of water and chemicals, the byproduct of hydrolic fracturing. Under current federal law, the contents of the fracking chemicals used in the process are considered proprietary and don’t have to be made public. Kind of scary, right?

Even more worrisome? The water may also contain toxic chemicals and substances such as cadmium, arsenic, plutonium and uranium that can be released from naturally occurring deposits in the earth during the fracking process. Many of the fracking chemicals and the naturally occurring chemicals are known to cause cancer in humans.

But have no fear, people, John Kasich and his pal Thomas E. Stewart, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, are telling us we have nothing to worry about. According to Stewart:

“About 7 million barrels of wastewater from drilling have been injected annually into Ohio wells since 1985 without incident because the practice is closely regulated by federal laws and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.”

First, Stewart is hardly an unbiased observer. His job is to promote oil and gas development in Ohio. And his group, along with other oil and gas industry interests, have helped feed $213,519 in campaign contributions to John Kasich – the most of any politician in Ohio- according to a report issued by Common Cause.

Second, Stewart’s statement about the practice being “closely regulated” borders on an outright lie.

Federal law, specifically Bush/Cheney’s 2005 energy policy, includes language (nicknamed the Haliburton Loophole) that explicitly strips the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate fracking in Ohio or any other state.

And while it is true the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is responsible for regulating these wells, it does seem worth noting that a year ago Kasich appointed David Mustine, a former Oil and Gas executive, to head ODNR. During the press conference announcing Mustine’s appointment, Kasich told reporters that he was hoping to “exploit the wonders of our state” – and he meant it, soon opening up Ohio’s state parks to drilling.

Also worth noting: Estimates for the amount of waste water being pumped into Ohio’s disposal wells show it likely increased to over 9 million barrels in 2011, with half of it coming from other states like Pennsylvania.

Regardless of your opinion on fracking, it’s hard not to be concerned over the complete lack of federal regulation, the increasing amount of hazardous chemicals being dumped into the ground under Ohio, the explosive expansion of fracking in Ohio – including in our parks, the massive campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry to Ohio’s politicians, oh – and the EARTHQUAKES.

Evangelize!
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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740014081 Paula Garfield

    Frackn..every1 loses with this..except Corps…poisons ur water supply..destroys vegetation, animals die, adds poisons n toxins into everything…Kasich’s analogy? Smoke Screen..plain n simple…If nothing else..this clearly shows that the Governor, doesnt care about Ohio communities/citizens..cuttn healthcare etc…n now this? All he cares about is how much he can receive..before feds step in, or before people see the truth..like leadn sheep to the slaughter…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740014081 Paula Garfield

    Earthquakes…in Ohio…scarey thought? Somethings not right in gulf either..BP? Poison…contaminating everything…drinkn water..soil..theyll say, “safe levels..” people will get sick..die, animals…people will get cancers…Hmmm.. u know..look at the jobs it will create? Hospitals, Meds…bottled water…because….ours will be poisoned..brings to thought..”Whoever controls the food n the water..controls the people..”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740014081 Paula Garfield

    Earthquakes…in Ohio…scarey thought? Somethings not right in gulf either..BP? Poison…contaminating everything…drinkn water..soil..theyll say, “safe levels..” people will get sick..die, animals…people will get cancers…Hmmm.. u know..look at the jobs it will create? Hospitals, Meds…bottled water…because….ours will be poisoned..brings to thought..”Whoever controls the food n the water..controls the people..”

  • Annekarima

    So … tell … me … please.  If there is a big one in Ohio, where does that move their oil they want so badly?  And what does that do to all their efforts ?  Does it make the oil easier to get or more difficult to get ?  Is it more beneficial to “them” to get the people who live/lived in the quake area out of the way?  Or is this kasich’s way of bringing jobs to the state?  Emergency situation, emergency effort.

  • http://www.plunderbund.com Eric

    I love that it says “most likely”

  • http://emsh.calarts.edu/~mathart Stewart Dickson

    From the AP Article: ”

    A spokesman for the Governor, John Kasich, an outspoken supporter of the
    growing oil and natural gas industry in Ohio, said the shale industry
    shouldn’t be punished for a fracking byproduct.

    ”That would be the equivalent of shutting down the auto industry
    because a scrap tyre dump caught fire somewhere,” said spokesman Rob
    Nichols.”
    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/fracking-wastewater-well-blamed-for-earthquakes-in-us-20120103-1pjn5.html#ixzz1iQBfOKxsPerhaps it is time to reconsider phenomena such as the Auto Industry…

  • Anonymous

    Actually, the area near Anna, Ohio, has a long history of quake activity – but I don’t think Youngstown ever has.   Maybe this fracking waste is a blessing in disguise, since the dumping has not been going on a long time yet, maybe it will be stopped or at least regulated now.  I doubt if the drilling will stop for long, however, there is too much money involved.

  • Mismas1

    its natural gas they are after.  The eastern one third of Ohio is part of the Marcellus shale deposit.  You can read more about it here.

    http://www.mismaslawfirm.com

  • Joyce Huggings

    there have  b een too many problems rev iewed in the news dealing with the
    “fracking” process.   It would seem foolish to add that to the problems already exerienced with drinking water in those areas who already have
    had problems.  there must be a safer way to protect our water supply than
    use of “:Fracking”   

  • Brenda Allen

    Do your research and you will see that seismic activity is documented with hydraulic fracturing through out the US. Not to mention higher cancer rates, dead livestock, toxic air and water, and YES it is a completely unregulated industry thanks to the Bush Administration. 

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