On April 2, 2014, as part of Legislator Accountability Day, we met with Sen. Balderson. This was our follow up letter and information we provided him. At the bottom you will find some helpful resources.
Dear Senator Balderson:
Thank you for meeting with us briefly last Wednesday. We appreciate the opportunity to express our concerns about what is happening in your district. From our meeting, we could see that we had more information that you were interested in than we could adequately convey and explain in the brief amount of time allotted. For this reason, we are sending along the attached information with a brief explanation of each and requesting a follow-up meeting with members of our organization, FreshWater Accountability Project:
Drilling Down: The NY Times provided an excellent overview of the industry in 2011. This truncated article demonstrates the concern with processing and disposing of radioactive flowback and produced waters created in large volume by fracking. In our meeting, it appeared that you were aware of just one way to handle this liquid, and that was Class II, non-hazardous injection wells. We tried to explain that there is one “recycler” operating in Ohio (Patriot in Warren, OH) that does this processing, potentially discharging water-soluble Ra226 and Ra228 into the Mahoning at this time. No one knows, because no one is measuring the outflow for this.
Fracking Wastewater Contaminated: This article summarizes the contaminants actually found downstream from the discharge of a similar frack waste “recycling” facility that was shut down in Pennsylvania (Josephine – that was the name I could not recall at the time). Similar studies to the Duke study are being done in PA, and we are seeking funding to have a similar study done ourselves in Ohio to prove that the radioactivity in frack waste is not being removed, but as in PA, is actually being legally discharged into our groundwater and in our landfills (or illegally dumped directly by brine haulers and other waste handlers such as D&L in Youngstown).
North Dakota headed for a superfund disaster: This could happen in Ohio if the waste processing and dumping facilities permitted by the ODNR over the holidays ahead of rulemaking are allowed to take place. In the list of the 17 permitted treatment, disposal and recycling facilities permitted that we provided a summary of in the booklet we gave you, there is outlined a perfect storm of what can happen when such practices are allowed to take place. You may want to look into what has been permitted in Zanesville because these processors are working for profit for the industry, and not for the long-term health and well-being of the community of which you are a part.
Hot Rocks: More proof that frack waste, liquids, sludges, and drill muds are radioactive. Almost half of Pennslyvania’s Marcellus waste has come into Ohio without measurement or trace-ability (although the ODNR could require testing of this material – it doesn’t). Once again, our “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” governance and regulatory schemes are allowing a similar scenario to unfold right now in Ohio.
And just another summary for your information, it is not true that fracked natural gas produces lower emissions than coal. It is actually, overall, a dirtier and more climate-affecting fossil fuel than CO2 generated from coal-fired plants.
Not to say that coal-fired plants are the way to go, either, in these days of global climate change. Renewables are our only option for long-term viability of our economy and our environment. That is why I was particularly dismayed to witness the introduction and sponsorship of SB310 which is a huge step back from the direction in which we need to go. And also to let you know, because I had come directly to the hearing for this bill from the rally, I only had my smartphone to record the introduction to this bill, which I had no idea I could not do. You may have noticed I was sitting in front, and the Sergeant at Arms took me out and accused me of not stopping the video, which I actually had. It was so embarrassing I refused to return to the hearing. I don’t think this is the way to treat a tax-paying Ohioan like me who has lived in the state all my life and paid a significant share of taxes over the 40 years of filing.
So – in order to make this whole first impression a little less unpleasant, I am hoping we can have another meeting in which to explain things further and exchange our documented, scientific information and compare it to the obvious misinformation that is being given by the industry lobbyists. This is for the sake of future Ohioans, which I know is of great concern for you.
FreshWater Accountability Project