Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fracking Waste Bill HB 422 Won't Work To Protect Public Health and Safety from Hazards of Injection Wells

Buckeye Forest Council and Frackfree Mahoning Valley Release a Joint Statement Saying State Representatives Sean O’Brien, Michael O’Brien, and John Patterson’s Injection Well Bill (HB 422) Won’t Work To Protect Public Health And Safety:  Groups Say The Bill Ignores The Seriousness Of The Fracking Waste-related, Man-made Earthquake Issue and Resulting Threats To Drinking Water and Property Values.

Youngstown, Ohio, January 21, 2016 - Buckeye Forest Council and Frackfree Mahoning Valley released the following January 21, 2016 statement regarding HB 422:
       HB 422, an injection well “regulation” bill sponsored by State Representatives Sean O’Brien, Michael O’Brien, and John Patterson will not work to protect public health and safety of Ohio communities.  HB 422 ignores science and the seriousness of Ohio’s fracking waste – related, man-made earthquake issue and resulting threats to drinking water and property values.  Toxic waste spills and releases are far too numerous locally or nationwide.
       The April 2015toxic waste release in Vienna, Ohio, three fracking waste spills in Torch, Ohio, the intentional dumping of fracking waste into the Mahoning River, and injection well – related earthquakes in Mahoning County, Trumbull County, and Ashtabula County were not prevented by increased or so-called “strict” regulations. Earthquakes cannot be regulated. 
       “The bill makes reference to not placing wells near known fault lines. At first glance, that may sound good to some people. Not knowing where the fault lines are in Ohio renders this null and void.  None of the fault lines in Ohio that were associated with the man-made earthquakes were known faults until the quakes happened,” said Teresa Mills of Buckeye ForestCouncil.
       “Ohio is becoming a toxic waste dump. No state or area should be.  If HB 422 passes, it will simply enable more out-of-state and in-state toxic fracking waste to be injected under Ohio by offering false assurances that injection or disposal wells can be made safe by mere regulations.  Ohio cannot afford to allow false assurances to rule the day,” said Susie Beiersdorfer of FrackfreeMahoning Valley.
       HB 422 won’t stop nine billion gallons of clean Ohio water from being turned into toxic waste. The bill won’t stop billions of gallons of toxic waste fluids from being pumped into the ground beneath Ohioan’s feet.
       Based upon experience and scientific findings, our position is that injection of toxic fracking waste is an inherently unsafe, ultrahazardous method of handling billions of gallons of toxic fracking waste that is constantly being created.  There is no safe or good solution to where to put all this waste or how to handle it in a way that safeguards public health and safety. A major reason for using injection wells to dispose of toxic fracking waste is the low disposal cost to the industry. We reject this reasoning because the public’s health and safety must come first.
       We are not lawyers, but we believe that operation of an injection well is not a legitimate business activity. We believe that it is a current and “imminent danger to the public health or safety,” or the environment. (The latter references similar words in Ohio law.)
       Politicians sponsoring HB 422 must consider the simple truth that one cannot regulate something that is by nature unsafe and make it safe. It’s that fundamental. They and their allies should stop pretending that it’s possible to do so. This fallacy is causing danger and harm to people and communities.
       Just as we, as a society in the interests of protecting public health and safety, abandoned and outlawed the use of asbestos, leaded gasoline, and lead paint, we must realize that injection of toxic fracking waste must be treated the same way.  The risk of great harm from this practice is unacceptable and too high a price to pay. Society cannot achieve a so-called “balance” with the use of asbestos, leaded gasoline, or lead paint. Science and good public policy have found their use simply unsafe, as injection of fracking waste will be - and the sooner, the better, in our opinion.
       Injection wells entail unacceptable costs in terms of public health and safety, property values, property rights, and social costs of losing our democratic rights.  Risking potential adverse effects from surface spills on our drinking water supply or small, repeated earthquakes on our aging infrastructure such as gas lines, water lines, or sewage lines is unacceptable.
       Drop this bill. The only real solution to the injection well and fracking waste problem is to stop injection wells and to stop producing billions of gallons of toxic waste fluids. We cannot permit politicians or bureaucrats to pretend that human beings can “regulate” earthquakes or can “regulate” an inherently unsafe process and magically make it safe. It makes no common sense.
       Passing HB 422 is not a legitimate solution. It is part of the problem.
For media inquiries or more information, contact:
Buckeye Forest Council at: 614-539-1471 or or
Frackfree Mahoning Valley at: or call:  234-201-0402
Buckeye Forest Council:
Frackfree Mahoning Valley:  

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