Dear Attorney General DeWine:
We are writing to you today to very urgently request your help to help protect the environment and preserve our fresh water supplies, property values and quality of life in Southeast Ohio. Despite the fact that many people have been “educated” to think that high volume slick water horizontal hydraulic fracturing, injecting and the spreading of brine waste will bring jobs and income to the area, the facts remain (as we have learned from other states), that this is not the case. The lack of accountability and transparency in what has occurred disguised as “economic improvement” has actually led to neighbor against neighbor, pollution and spills and environmental degradation, and the privatization of profit and socialization of cost. So far, what has happened is that individual land owners, seduced by promises and quick money, are paying the cost in Pennsylvania. In Maryland, in contrast, there is recently established greater accountability for the gas producers to compensate for the damage they cause. With approximately 70% of Ohioans who do not want the industry to spread the “fracking frenzy” here (according to Innovation Ohio), the producers continue. Now they have so much invested in leasing land that there is even more incentive to frack as much as possible as fast as possible.
It is obvious that the ODNR cannot track and oversee the amount of permitting it allows. This will spill over to additional workload to other agencies such as the Ohio EPA and ODH. With the lawsuits that are sure to come, your agency will have to defend them. All this at taxpayer expense. How do we reconcile the conflict of interest when there are public agencies, charged to protect human health and safety as well as the environment who are making money from the industry that is exploiting our resources without sound science that it is safe? The gas companies will allow the landowner to assume the cost for proving that contamination has taken place. Who has the money as an individual to fight those hugely profitable and well-funded companies who do not want to admit responsibility? And why is the oil and gas industry spending so much money to lobby politicians rather than spending it on what needs to be done to make their operations fail safe?
What we also don’t understand is how can “brine” be spread on our public roads without testing it? How can toxic chemicals be injected into the ground without knowing what they are? We would wager there are people in Texas, suffering from the drought, but with a glut of gas, who wish they could suck the water back out of injection wells and make it safe to drink and irrigate with again!
Read the full letter here (pdf).