OUR IMMEDIATE ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH THREAT: "Fracking" Waste Disposal
Class II injection wells--into which “flowback” and “produced water” (popularly called “frack water” or "waste" or “brine”) from unconventional shale drilling are pumped under pressure into rock layers under ground.
This “frack water” contains dangerous levels of lead, arsenic, benzene, toluene, naphthalene, trimethyl benzene, radioactive compounds, and others which are known carcinogens or hormone disruptors even in small quantities. Yet testing is not required before injecting them. Storing, transporting and injecting these hazardous materials threaten our community. In a single year, Portage County’s 14 active Class II wells received over 80 million gallons of “flowback” & “produced water”. Portage is also home to dozens of abandoned, inactive or “non-receiving” Class II wells which are not adequately tested for leaks. All have been receiving increasing amounts of waste every year for decades from both in and out of state. Eight more wells are permitted, with one drilled but not active.
On the small, narrow country roads where many of these waste injection wells have been drilled, huge tanker trucks block local residents’ travel---sometimes as many as 10-20 trucks in a single day. Many Portage residents went to our local elected officials in townships, villages and cities to try to get a Road Use and Maintenance Agreement (RUMA) to at least control truck traffic the hours school children and school buses are on those roads or to ensure that the companies benefitting from this waste disposal pay for the roads, with little success. When asked for help protecting residents’ health and safety, local elected officials typically respond “Our hands are tied. We have no control over anything related to the oil and gas industry. The state has complete control.” Our right as citizens to protect our homes & families through our local government to make sure our rights “trump” corporate privileges.
WHY OUR GOVERNMENT DOESN'T PROTECT US.
Current state law gives sole authority to Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) for permitting and regulating oil and gas drilling and waste disposal. State law puts corporate privileges over local communities, overriding our democratic right to choose whether to allow any activities in our community that threaten our safety or health. Enough already!
STATE AND FEDERAL PREEMPTION
Our legal system says that the state and federal government can create laws that take away local control over our communities. Most Ohio counties are statutory, which means they only have authority to do what the state tells them they may do. We believe that democracy should be exercised in the communities where we live.