Concerned Ohio River Residents
P.O. Box 135
Bridgeport, OH 43912



Jill Hunkler, CORR Advocate, (740) 238-1256,

Megan Hunter, Attorney, (312) 800-8331,

Groups Challenge Deficient Applications to Create Dangerous Salt Cavern Storage on Ohio River.

On Friday, 2/5/21, Earthjustice—on behalf of Concerned Ohio River Residents, Buckeye Environmental Network, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, River Valley Organizing, FreshWater Accountability Project, and Sierra Club—filed public comments to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), along with hundreds of others submitted by concerned citizens and organizations. The 156 pages of comments and references identify major deficiencies in Powhatan Salt Company’s applications to the ODNR for three Solution Mining Wells next to the Ohio River. The Organizations also again called for an extension of the public comment period to allow the public to provide input on the projects.

Powhatan Salt Company intends to use the Solution Mining Wells to hollow our three caverns for storage of Natural Gas Liquids by Mountaineer NGL Storage LLC. Both Powhatan Salt Company and Mountaineer NGL Storage are owned by Energy Storage Ventures. The Comments include detailed analysis by experts Dominic DiGiulio, Ph.D., and Robert Rossi, Ph.D. that show the caverns as described in the Applications cannot safely store NGLs. The Comments also detail the catastrophic, and in some cases deadly, accidents that have occurred at similar storage facilities across the country, and point out ODNR’s failure to ensure safe well permitting in the case of the Redbird #4 Injection Well in Washington County.

The comments stated, ” Protecting public health and safety—including implementing the goals of the Safe Drinking Water Act (“SDWA”)—is the primary purpose of Ohio’s laws governing solution mining projects. The SMP Wells impermissibly undermine these protections by failing to adhere to (or even acknowledge) industry recommended practices essential for public safety; arbitrarily ignoring pertinent risks; excluding necessary geological characterization and basic aspects of well design; and mischaracterizing the nature of the business associated with the solution mining projects.”.

Major deficiencies in the proposed SMP applications included:

  • Inadequate description of the business involved and intended use of the caverns
  • Inadequate analysis of local geology and hydrology and underground drinking water sources
  • The area of review was only a radius of 1/4 mile
  • Inadequate monitoring program and contingency plan for any leaks, subsidence, etc.
  • The proposed SMP is within a 100-year flood plain
  • Inadequate public notice and comment periods
  • The location of the SMP’s and the cavern spacing pose serious risks

Local residents were told little about the plans to build salt caverns along the Ohio River to store natural gas liquids, and no one was told of the risks involved – only the estimated maximum of 12 jobs. The possibility of storing “green” hydrogen in the caverns has been mentioned, which has been mostly debunked because there is no source of truly “green” hydrogen in the area. Additional infrastructure is also proposed, which appears to be designed to move resources from the area while allowing pollutants to remain, turning the area into a sacrifice zone for profits going outside the region. The Mountaineer Natural Gas Liquids Storage caverns appear to be yet another way to prop up the faltering fracking industry and to entice a foreign ethane cracker plant into the region. There is no good reason to build the salt caverns, which will attract major polluters and provide few local jobs and revenue, especially considering the many serious risks involved. Local residents and concerned organizations continue to hope the ODNR will extend the comment period, and hopefully, once all the extent of the proposed projects is known, including the destruction of over 380 million gallons of fresh water from the Ohio River, the SMP permits will be denied.

Concerned citizens waiting to hear from the ODNR about the requested extension beyond the insufficient 30 days allowed for the public comment period can call Concerned Ohio River Residents at 740-738-3024, or visit the website at or Facebook page for updates.