News Archive

CHEJ Small Grants Program

Did you know that CHEJ has a Small Grants Program that prioritizes grassroots groups working on environmental health, and justice issues? The grants program supports projects that help groups move towards their goals by building leadership, increasing capacity and/or training and education.
The program is designed to especially reach people from low wealth communities and communities of color who are impacted by environmental harms.
A small grant makes a big difference in grassroots communities fighting for their lives. CHEJ is proud to be able to offer these resources to local neighborhood groups who otherwise would have a more difficult time moving a solution to the problem forward. We have seen group do amazing things with a little funding.  Citizens have rented buses to take community members on toxic tours of their area.  Groups have rented billboards to help get their message across.  What a great “in your face” approach.  Groups have held Human Rights Tribunals that went on to be presented at the National Human Rights Tribunal held this last May.
“CHEJ’s support to Black Belt Citizens (BBC) was very timely and made a HUGE impact from day one. The CHEJ grant was BBC’s first grant (in 2016) to support their environmental justice work. The grant allowed BBC to strengthen the work they were doing. In 2017, the CHEJ grant increased community programming and created our Community Health Network. BBC is able to fight today and tomorrow because of groups like CHEJ.”  Adam Johnson, Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Environmental Justice. Sept. 2018
Grant activities can include board development, membership outreach, and fundraising efforts. Project activities could also include meetings to develop an organizing/strategic plan, training leaders to go door-to-door, events, educational activities which are directly connected to your strategic plan. No strategic plan, give us a call, we can help. Think outside of the box, we love to see projects that are creative, effective and strategic.
CHEJ focuses on community-based organizations aiming to have local, state and regional impact as the core of the health and environmental justice movement. CHEJ believes that no social change on behalf of the exploited comes without strong community-based organizations.
CHEJ believes that improving the environmental health outcomes for grassroots communities and laying the groundwork to establish environmental health organizing must be a priority.  Jackie Young from Texas Health and Environment Alliance an awardee has this to say about our program, “CHEJ Small Grants program has helped our group continue our critical role as watch dogs for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site. There is so much behind the scenes work that goes into successfully work with the Superfund process and CHEJ understands this and financially supports this important work.” Sept. 2018
To this end, we look for proposals with projects that train and assist local people to work toward attaining justice, to become empowered to protect their communities from environmental threats and build strong locally controlled organizations. For example:
Skill-building sessions that cover such topics as developing organizational structure, building broad based coalitions, raising money, working with the media, strategic planning, motivating volunteers. Events that facilitate networking and coalition building. Workshops to educate communities about specific local polluting facilities or proposed facilities and develop strategies for reducing or eliminating the environmental threat.
With the CHEJ Small Grants program, we have been given the tools and knowledge to successfully organize, strategize, and plan events. We have the capability to present our issues to local and state government officials. This would not have happened without this Small Grants program. Our community is grateful we will be able to use what we have learned in so many ways. Thank you CHEJ!!!
We unfortunately cannot support proposals from
Organizations with an annual budget over $1 Million, Individuals, National organizations,
Organizations outside of the United States, National campaigns, except local/statewide group-specific efforts that may fit in to such a campaign, Legal work or lobbying

Backyard Talk News Archive


Related image  Everyone off the couch, shake the cobweb out of your brain and enjoy the coming of spring.  Sure we have had a rough winter following the elections.  And it may get rougher still.  I know at first I just wanted to crawl under the covers and go back to my pre-activist days.  Then Lois said to all of us, “don’t agonize, organize.”  Of course Lois would say that, that’s her style.
Earth Day is around the corner; I know some of us no longer see Earth Day as a big deal.  The last time I attended an Earth Day event at the Ohio State House my heart broke.  As I looked around the State House lawn and all I saw was the corporate logos on nice white 12 by 12 tents.  What happened to the students and their drum circles?  Where were all the little grassroots groups sells their buttons and tee shirts to help them survive another year?  Will we ever take back Earth Day?
On the very first Earth Day millions of Americans participated in rallies, marches along with thousands of colleges and universities where the youth helped forced the environment into a political agenda.  Senator Gaylord Nelson, an environmentalist from Wisconsin was behind the idea of Earth Day with hopes of bring the grassroots movement together with ecological awareness.
Environmental awareness is making a comeback in a big way and we see more and more grassroots groups coming together to help save the plant.  We are not too late, we can’t be.  So again I say, SPRING INTO ACTION, do what you can, find your niche, have fun, raise hell. Someone’s got to do it, might as well be you.

Backyard Talk


no incineratorJUST SAY NO!
Susquehanna County citizens are in the fight for their lives.  They just recently learned that a new hazardous waste incinerator may be built in their community.
Hundreds of citizens are turning out for community meetings to discuss a hazardous waste incinerator that is being proposed in New Milford.  Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania is a county known for its grassroots citizens fighting polluting industry and for protecting their community.
Citizens have learned that the newly formed Tyler Corners Group, (an investment group) plans to build a hazardous waste incinerator.  Will this be a front group where the owner/s will hide their questionable dealings behind a smoke screen?  Or, will this group be up front and transparent with the community?  So far there is no proof that they will be upfront and transparent about on anything to do with the incinerator.
Just as expect, citizens are being told this will be in an industrial park and that it will be a boost to the area economy.  They are also being told there will be no emissions from the burner.  Well great, another magic burner!  And this burner will be state of the art, that means the last technology didn’t work.  One would have to wonder what other types of industry would want to be in the same park where there is a hazardous waste incinerator.
Citizens are attending township and county meetings, they have petitions being passed around getting signatures in opposition to the incinerator, they are asking local elected officials to develop and pass air ordinance’s that would protect the health of the community.  While the incinerator industry may have thought that they could ride into town and bring their hazardous waste with them and it would be business as usual, they did not think they would run into the opposition they are facing from the local citizens.   The POWER IS IN THE PEOPLE!
This facility is what  would be called a LULU (Locally Undesirable Land Use) facility.  This is described in greater detail in CHEJ’s “How to Deal With a Proposed Facility”.  You can get this publication on the CHEJ webpage at   Click on the tab “Take Action”, then click on organizing and leadership.  The publication will be the first on the list.
Please go to the groups Facebook page for more information.

Backyard Talk

Groups Sue EPA Over Dangerous Drilling and Fracking Waste

Call for Rules for Handling and Disposal of Oil and Gas Waste to Prevent Earthquakes, Drinking Water Contamination. A coalition of community and environmental organizations filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calling for regulations to stop oil and gas companies from disposing and handling drilling and fracking wastes in ways that threaten public health and the environment.
The organizations are pushing EPA to issue rules that address problems including the disposal of fracking wastewater in underground injection wells, which accept hundreds of millions of gallons of oil and gas wastewater and have been linked to numerous earthquakes in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas.
“Updated rules for oil and gas wastes are almost 30 years overdue, and we need them now more than ever,” said Adam Kron, senior attorney at the Environmental Integrity Project.  “Each well now generates millions of gallons of wastewater and hundreds of tons of solid wastes, and yet EPA’s inaction has kept the most basic, inadequate rules in place. The public deserves better than this.”
The groups filing today’s suit include the Environmental Integrity Project, Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthworks, Responsible Drilling Alliance, San Juan Citizens Alliance, West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization, and the Center for Health, Environment and Justice.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, calls on the court to set strict deadlines for EPA to comply with its long-overdue obligations to update waste disposal rules that should have been revised more than a quarter century ago.
Amy Mall, senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said: “Waste from the oil and gas industry is very often toxic and should be treated that way.  Right now, companies can get rid of their toxic mess in any number of dangerous ways—from spraying it on icy roads, to sending it to landfills with our everyday household trash, to injecting it underground where it can endanger drinking water and trigger earthquakes. EPA must step in and protect our communities and drinking water from the carcinogens, radioactive material and other dangerous substances that go hand-in-hand with oil and gas waste.”
The organizations are urging EPA to ban the practice of spreading fracking wastewater onto roads or fields, which allows toxic pollutants to run off and contaminate streams. And EPA should require landfills and ponds that receive drilling and fracking waste to be built with adequate liners and structural integrity to prevent spills and leaks into groundwater and streams.
The groups filed a notice of their intent to sue EPA last August, warning the agency a lawsuit would follow unless it complied with its duty under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to review and revise the federal regulations and guidelines governing how oil and gas waste must be handled and disposed. RCRA requires that EPA review the regulations and state plan guidelines at least every three years and, if necessary, revise them. The agency determined in 1988 that such revisions of the regulations were necessary to address specific concerns with oil and gas wastes, yet has failed to meet its legal responsibility to act for nearly three decades.
Over the last decade, the oil and gas industry’s fracking-based boom has produced a vast amount of solid and liquid waste. Each well produces millions of gallons of wastewater and hundreds of tons of drill cuttings, which contain contaminants that pose serious risks to human health. These include known carcinogens such as benzene, toxic metals such as mercury, and radioactive materials. However, the current RCRA rules that govern oil and gas wastes are too weak because they are the same rules that apply to all “non-hazardous” wastes, including household trash.
As a result, oil and gas companies are disposing, storing, transporting, and handling these wastes in a number of troublesome ways. These include: spraying fracking waste fluids onto roads and land near where people live and work; disposing of billions of gallons of oil and gas wastewater in underground injection wells; sending the drill cuttings and fracking sands to landfills not designed to handle toxic or radioactive materials; and storing and disposing of wastewater in pits and ponds, which often leak. Across the U.S., there are numerous instances of wastes leaking out of ponds and pits into nearby streams and the groundwater beneath, and operators often “close” the pits by simply burying the wastes on site.
Aaron Mintzes, Policy Advocate for Earthworks, said: “In 1988, EPA promised to require oil and gas companies to handle this waste more carefully. Yet neither EPA nor the states have acted.  Today’s suit just says 28 years is too long for communities to wait for protections from this industry’s hazardous waste.”
The following are some examples of problems caused by the improper disposal and handling of fracking and drilling waste:

  • Ohio: Underground injection wells in Ohio accepted 1.2 billion gallons of oil and gas wastewater for disposal in 2015, more than double the amount in 2011. Half this wastewater came from out of state. This has resulted in scores of earthquakes in the well-dense Youngstown area, with one well alone linked to 77 earthquakes. The Ohio Oil and Gas Commission has stated that regulations “have not kept pace” with the problem and that (to an extent) both the state and industry are “working with their eyes closed.” Other states that have experienced increased seismic events in the proximity of injection wells include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
  • Pennsylvania:In May 2012, a six-million-gallon industrial pond holding fracking wastewater in Tioga County leaked pollutants, including arsenic and strontium, through holes in its liner into groundwater and a nearby trout stream.
  • West Virginia:Oil and gas wastewater dumped or spilled in rivers in West Virginia and Pennsylvania contains high levels of potentially hazardous ammonium and iodide, according to a study by Duke University scientists.
  • North Dakota:In January 2015, three million gallons of drilling wastewater spilled from a leaky pipe outside Williston, polluting a tributary of the Missouri River. In July 2011, a pipeline serving a well in Bottineau County leaked over two million gallons of fracking wastewater, damaging 24 acres of private land.
  • Colorado:A contractor for a pipeline services firm gave a detailed account of sand-blasting pulverized waste buildup (called “scale”) from pipeline seals directly into the air outdoors without a filter, even though such dust can be radioactive and cause damage to lungs.
  • Across the Marcellus region:Over the past several years, landfills in states around the Marcellus shale formation—even in New York, where fracking is prohibited—have experienced increasing shipments of drill cuttings that contain high levels of radiation.  Many of the landfills do not test for radiation and do not have adequate controls to prevent the often toxic and radioactive “leachate” from seeping into groundwater.

Julie Archer, project manager at the West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization, said:  “Although West Virginia has taken some steps to improve regulation, the state’s approach has been to permit horizontal drilling without carefully considering whether current methods of waste disposal are appropriate or adequate. It’s past time for the EPA to provide clear guidance on how these wastes should be handled to protect our communities.”
Teresa Mills, director of the Ohio field office for the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, said: “A major reason for the industry’s use of injection wells to dispose of toxic fracking waste is the low disposal cost.  We reject this reasoning because the public’s health and safety must come first.”
EPA’s current regulations do not take into account the dangerous contents of oil and gas wastes or their unique handling and disposal practices. Since 1988, the agency has acknowledged the shortcoming of its basic rules for solid waste management and has indicated that it needs to create enhanced rules tailored to the oil and gas industry. However, the agency has yet to take any action to develop these updated regulations.
Dan Olson, Executive Director of the Colorado-based San Juan Citizens Alliance, said: “As an organization representing hundreds of families living in close proximity to oil and gas operations, we see not only the physical pollution, but also the psychological toll that oil and gas waste exacts on communities. That the EPA is 30 years overdue in creating common sense rules for managing toxic waste from oil and gas operations is a cause of great concern for everyone living near these sources of improperly regulated industrial pollution.”

Backyard Talk

Floored by Health Authorities Decision

Around every corner there are threats to our health and safety.  The CDC found cancer risks from laminated flooring imported from China could reach 30 in 100,000, but didn’t think it important enough to suggest people remove the flooring.  REALLY!  How is 30 people out of 100,000 getting cancer from the flooring not considered assault with a deadly weapon?  The weapon being the flooring and the deadly being cancer.

I include the CDC/ATSDR statement to show just how inept our government health agencies have become.

On February 10, 2016, CDC/ATSDR released a report entitled Possible Health Implications from Exposure to Formaldehyde Emitted from Laminate Flooring Samples Tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. On February 12, CDC/ATSDR was notified that a private individual who reviewed the report suspected that a conversion error might have been made. CDC/ATSDR staff reviewed the report and discovered that an incorrect value for ceiling height was used in the indoor air model.  As a result, the health risks were calculated using airborne concentration estimates about 3 times lower than they should have been. Neither CDC/ATSDR nor the report’s peer or partner reviewers or reviewers noticed the error.

Change in conclusion for short-term health effects

After correcting the measurement error in the model, CDC/ATSDR revised the report’s conclusion about possible health effects from exposure to formaldehyde. In the report that used an incorrect value for ceiling height, we concluded that exposure to the low end of the modeled levels of formaldehyde in the CPSC-tested laminate flooring could cause increased irritation and breathing problems for children, older adults, and people with asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In the updated report, which used the correct value for ceiling height, we concluded that irritation and breathing problems could occur in everyone exposed to formaldehyde in the laminate flooring, not just sensitive groups and people with pre-existing health conditions.

Change in conclusion for long-term health effects

We also increased the estimated lifetime cancer risk from breathing the highest levels of formaldehyde from the affected flooring all day, every day for 2 years. The lifetime cancer risk increased from the previous estimate of 2 to 9 extra cases for every 100,000 people to between 6 and 30 extra cases per 100,000 people. To put these numbers into perspective, the American Cancer Society estimates that up to 50,000 of every 100,000 people may develop cancer from all causes over their lifetimes.

Our recommendations remain the same.

Although the conclusions in the report have been revised, CDC/ATSDR recommendations to protect health have not; we continue to recommend that people with the affected laminate flooring:

  • Reduce exposure –  We provide information on how residents can reduce exposure to sources of formaldehyde in their homes
  • See a doctor for ongoing health symptoms – We recommend that residents who have followed the steps to reduce formaldehyde in their homes and still have ongoing health symptoms (breathing problems or irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat) only in their homes, should see a doctor to find out what is causing the symptoms.
  • Consider professional air testing if irritation continues.

What happened to the acceptable cancer risk of 1 in a million?

As you can see the agency tried to justify their inaction by saying that the American Cancer Society estimates that up to 50,000 of every 100,000 people may develop cancer in their lifetime.  That number  may be higher than that if people are also exposed to this flooring.  This outrageous cancer estimate proves that we need to remove these cancer threats as they are found and not just suggest that people see a doctor for ongoing symptoms

So lets see now, if you have contaminated tomatoes, onions or other food related disease the health agencies are all over it.  They tell consumers to not buy or wash thoroughly the vegetable or food product of concern.  However, when you have a consumer product that can affect everyone exposed to it there is no immediate health alert or no product recall what so ever.  WHAT!

Why do tomatoes get more attention, investigation and result in consumer warning to be careful than toxic chemicals in the environment that is literally killing children?  Young children are sick and dying across the country and our politicians don’t seem to care.

Will we ever stop the poisoning of our children, our water, our soil, our plant?  I fear not because we are not a problem veggie.  We all deserve to be protected, just like the government protects a tomato.

Backyard Talk

Climate Change – What In The World Are We Doing

Climate Change Actions are moving forward to reduce impacts across the globe. But at the same time, some of the most destructive practices of the gas and oil industry continue as fossil fuels are extracted, stored and transported. Creating as much or maybe even more damage than society is reducing. It is a living contradiction. What in the world are we (society) doing?

As I visit communities or take calls from leaders I’m told their water is poisoned from fracking. No one will take responsibility, no one will provide clean drinking water for families and  families can’t afford to pay for a new water supply themselves. Well heads leak methane and other chemicals on a daily basis. Leaders are still being told natural gas is the answer to coal. Always and either or situation instead of none of the above choices are acceptable.

I hear from community leaders that there was a train accident that destroyed their home, community and sense of safety. Pipelines have cause explosions, fires and contamination across the country in record numbers.

All of these problems significantly contributed to our climate crisis either in production, transport or accidents. Moreover, people are speaking out in record numbers about the need for change, not only in Paris but in communities that dot the world which no one even has heard of before. It’s confusing, infuriating, and just plain insane.

Let’s look at what’s happening in California. A massive amount of methane gas is currently erupting from an energy facility in Aliso Canyon, at a startling rate of 110,000 pounds per hour. This has led to the evacuation 1,700 homes so far. The gas involved in this leak is methane, the main component of natural gas, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to climate change impact. About one-fourth of the anthropogenic global warming we’re experiencing today is due to methane emissions.

Leaks like the current one in California, are a major contributor. In Pasadena, for instance, just 35 miles from the leak in Aliso, investigators found one leak for every four miles.

So far, over 150 million pounds of methane have been released by the Aliso Canyon leak. The cause of the leak is still unknown however more than 38 percent of the pipes in Southern California Gas Company’s territory are more than 50 years old, and 16 percent are made from corrosion- and leak-prone materials.

The company said, their efforts to stop the flow of gas by pumping fluids directly down the well have not yet been successful, so we have shifted our focus to stopping the leak through a relief well. Alright how long will that take, the relief well process is on schedule to be completed by late February or late March.

Let me remind you that the gas is now leaving the facility at a rate of 110,000 + pounds per hour. Multiply that with 24 hours a day and several months it’s astonishing. And this is just one leak in California.

So how exactly is society worldwide going to directly impact/reduce climate changes when we have one thumb in the hole to plug up the releases while the other hand is digging through the earth to intentionally release greenhouse gases?

Backyard Talk

Ohio Governor flip flops on shale boom.

Strange, this is what citizens have been saying about the shale boom for years, good thing the governor finally caught on.  Taken from Ohio Governor John Kasich’s State of the State speech.

GOVERNOR KASICH: …okay. So we’re talking about not just saving money in government spending, but we’re talking about tax reform. Some things go up, other things go down, but to provide the incentive for the least negative impact on the private economy.

Severance taxes, that’s another place where we need tax reform. The reason is simple. Our current system doesn’t reflect our current reality. Ohio’s severance tax was created decades ago, long before Ohio’s shale boom was ever envisioned. Its current low rate: 20 cents on a barrel of oil.

I don’t know anybody who lives in Ohio who would not like to sign up for this, twenty cents on a barrel of oil. It’s unconscionable as far as I’m concerned. It’s not right. It isn’t fair to Ohioans, because these resources are being depleted. They’re never coming back. Ohio’s being made poorer as a result of the depletion of our resources. It’s like oil and gas itself.

Much of the wealth the shale boom is generating is being shipped out of our state, being shipped out of Ohio.

We need to change that while at the same time making sure that Ohio’s long time small drillers—the ones who have been around for years and make very little money. We want to just get rid of their income taxes altogether but we also want to make sure that local governments are supported when their calls for first responders and infrastructure or other essential services are forced to go up because of the oil and gas activity. Okay? All of it.


GOVERNOR KASICH: The prosperity created by our oil and gas deposits can be great not just for shale country. This is not just for part of Ohio but for all of Ohio because it makes possible the income tax cuts that provide an economic boost statewide.

I’m disappointed by those who say the severance tax reform will kill the industry. That’s a joke. That’s a big fat joke because I’ve talked to them in private. And I’ll tell you what, our severance tax will still be competitive with our energy-rich states. And you know what? Let’s reform the severance tax so all Ohioans can have lower income taxes and we all benefit from this whole industry. That’s what it should be all about.

Backyard Talk

51,500 drums of hazardous waste buried above sole source aquifer.

People for Safe Water, a group in Springfield, Ohio, are working for the reinstatement by the US EPA of the original cleanup plan for the Tremont Barrel Fill Site. This plan will ensure the sole source aquifer’s continuing yield of high quality, pure water for Clark County residents.

The Barrel Fill site contains 51,500 drums of chemical waste, as well as over 300,000 gallons of bulk liquid waste in German Township, buried in the late 1970’s.

· Following legislative procedures and public processes, US EPA’s Region 5 Superfund Division issued a site clean-up plan known as Alternative 4a in June 2010. This plan was acceptable to all local and OH EPA officials.

· Subsequently, US EPA issued another plan, known as Alternative 9a, on June 22, 2011, as the final clean-up plan. This plan was unacceptable to all local and OH EPA officials.

· The OH EPA, Clark County Combined Health District, Clark County Commissioners, Springfield City Commissioners, German Township Trustees, and our citizens group, People for Safe Water, all vigorously oppose Plan 9a because, if implemented, it will so compromise the purity of the sole source aquifer for Clark County.

· The corporations responsible for clean-up costs, or Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs), sued Chemical Waste Management (CWM), who had challenged its status as one of the PRPs. The court ruled that CWM is a PRP and is responsible for 55% of the cleanup costs

Key points of opposition to Plan 9A:

· It lacks the level of protection provided by Alternative 4a.

· It leaves untreated hazardous waste at the Barrel Fill site.

· It redefines principal threat waste to be only liquid waste.

· It ignores key unique geological features with serious consequences for the Springfield well fields and Mad River Aquifer.

The barrel fill site, a Superfund Alternative Site, sets above the sole source aquifer for 85,000 people, primarily Clark County citizens. This sole source of drinking water is at risk of contamination by chemical poisons from the Site. Charles Patterson, Clark County Health Commissioner, reports that trace contaminants are already showing up in monitoring wells below the site. US EPA’s original plan (June 2010), acceptable to all pertinent parties, would have adequately addressed the site’s cleanup. US EPA’s adoption of a subsequent plan (June 2011) threatens the water supply upon which the people and economy of the entire region depend.



Backyard Talk

Citizens Bill to Ban Fracking Waste Injection Wells Introduced

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.



Backyard Talk

Touring with Lois Gibbs

If you haven’t read the story “From homemaker to hell-raiser in Love Canal”, you should. And to make it easier here’s the link.
In the story I loved what Luella Kenny, another Love Canal activist had to say about Lois. “She was like a hurricane and we just kept going.” This reminded me of the Toxic Tour that Lois and I took around Ohio a couple of years ago. We traveled to all corners of the state, covering over 900 miles in just 4 days. I think of Lois as having the energy of the Energizer Bunny. With every community we visited it was like someone put new batteries in her and off she went. She is a tireless fighter for what is right.
The writer of “From homemaker to hell-raiser in Love Canal” described the Center for Health, Environment & Justice office as “being squired in a third-floor corner office in a nondescript building in Fairfax County, Va., a few miles from Washington, D.C. A tiny gray sign hangs outside the door, betraying no sense of the history inside.” While all true, those inside find no need of fancy offices in expensive buildings. It is more important to fight for what is right for the environment and the grassroots community groups we work with. The CHEJ extended family is a very close group of individuals. We celebrate together, we are sad together, we have disagreements with each other, and we hug each other. The CHEJ family includes all the community groups that we have ever worked with. Boy what a family reunion that would be if we ever all got together.
I won’t start naming names because I know I would leave someone out but, to all of you out there that are the Lois Gibbs of your community I say thank you for doing what you have done or are doing. If we haven’t heard from you for a while, give us a call to let us know how you are doing.