Ohio Community Groups Concerned about Toxic Oil and Gas Waste Work With Lawmakers on a Citizens Bill to Ban Class II Injection Wells

A citizens group coalition, working with State Senator Mike Skindell (Lakewood), and State Representatives Denise Driehaus (Cincinnati) and Robert Hagan (Youngstown) to introduce the Citizens Bill to Ban Class 2 Injection Wells in Ohio. A coalition of 40 local, state, and national groups sent a letter to the lawmakers, urging them to introduce the injection well ban to protect the health and safety of Ohioans.

The initiative was prompted by recent events, including earthquakes in Geauga and Mahoning Counties; the federal indictment of D&L industries for dumping fracking waste; lack of public participation in the injection well permitting process; and multiple news reports outlining the radioactivity and toxicity of oil and gas wastewater flooding into Ohio by the millions of barrels.

Ohio communities should not be declared wastelands for dumping this toxic waste into what amounts to a hole in the ground, putting their children’s health and drinking water supply at risk.

The legislation would ban Class 2 wells used for underground injection of oil and gas waste. The bill would also stop waste from being discharged into Ohio’s waterways after treatment, and make it illegal for municipalities to use the liquid waste from oil and gas operations for dust and ice control on roadways. Citizens contend that none of Ohio’s wastewater treatment plants are equipped to handle the level of toxicity and radioactivity that has been found in fracking waste.

Ohio politicians and regulators have been too lenient on industry disposal of fracking waste. Just because the industry is creating a tremendous amount of toxic waste doesn’t mean Ohio has to find a place for them to dump it. In the absence of truly safe disposal methods, the burden should be placed on industry to come up with safe alternatives or cease to create the waste.

In 2012, Ohio’s 178 active injection wells accepted 13,846,657 barrels of brine and liquid waste. Radioactivity in oil and gas wastewaters has been found to exceed the U.S.EPA safe drinking limits by up to 3,600 times and federal industrial discharge limits set by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency by more than 300 times.