Monday, November 17, 2014

Scientists link over 1000 earthquakes to fracking or fracking waste injection wells in Ohio, yet the state of Ohio only lists 18 quakes on their website. Why? How Can Illinois and Other States Benefit From Ohio’s Experience With Fracking Induced Seismicity?

Scientists link over 1000 earthquakes to fracking or fracking waste injection wells in Ohio, yet the state of Ohio only lists 18 quakes on their website. Why?  How Can Illinois and Other States Benefit From Ohio’s Experience With Fracking Induced Seismicity?

November 14, 2014

By Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer, Professor of Geology, Dept. of Geological & Environmental Sciences, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio 4455, (330) 941-1753,

Prior to shale gas development the state of Ohio had suffered slightly over 200 felt earthquakes since 1776.  Many of them were near Anna, Ohio which sits in an extension of Illinois’ New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones.  Since 2011 three Ohio counties, all aseismic, have suffered over 1,000 positive magnitude earthquakes. All of the earthquakes were human induced due to fracking for shale gas or injection of liquid frackwaste. The quakes are restricted to four locations, two housing injection wells and two fracking well pads.

Induced Cause
Recorded Quakes
Reported on ODNR Website
Kim, 2013
Skoumal, 2014,
Skoumal, et al 2014a
Friberg et al, 2014
Skoumal, et al 2014b
Linert,  2014
Runyan, 2014


After the first swarm of earthquakes triggered by the Northstar 1 injection well in Youngstown, Ohio  (2011-present) the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued new rules regarding injection wells, which includes mandatory seismic monitoring.

Ohio will seek the following reforms to its Class II deep injection well program.  It should be noted that rules or permit conditions do not prevent earthquakes, in Ohio or anywhere else.

1) Requires a review of existing geologic data for known faulted areas within the state and avoid the locating of new Class II disposal wells within these areas;
2) Requires of a complete suite of geophysical logs (including, at a minimum, gamma ray, compensated density-neutron, and resistivity logs) to be run on newly drilled Class II disposal wells. A copy of the completed log, with analytical interpretation will be submitted to ODNR;
3) Evaluates the potential for conducting seismic surveys;
4) Requires operators to plug back with cement, prior to injection, any well drilled in Precambrian basement rock for testing purposes.
5) Requires the submission, at time of permit application, of any information available concerning the existence of known geological faults within a specified distance of the proposed well location, and submission of a plan for monitoring any seismic activity that may occur;
6) Requires a measurement or calculation of original downhole reservoir pressure prior to initial injection;
7) Requires conducting a step-rate injection test to establish formation parting pressure and injection rates;
8) Requires the installation of a continuous pressure monitoring system, with results being electronically available to ODNR for review;
9) Requires the installation of an automatic shut-off system set to operate if the fluid injection pressure exceeds a maximum pressure to be set by ODNR;
10) Requires the installation of an electronic data recording system for purposes of tracking all fluids brought by a brine transporter for injection;

Unfortunately rule number 10 has never been implemented. Had it been, it may have prevented the owner of the Northstar 1 well from illegally dumping up to 480,000 gallons of toxic and radioactive fracking waste into the Mahoning River (McCarty, 2013.) The cleanup has cost Ohio taxpayers over three million dollars.

At the time these rules were announced I recommended requiring a sonic log in addition to the required gamma ray, compensated density-neutron, and resistivity logs. The sonic log can identify faults transected by the bore hole, the others can’t.  This is important if the well drills through a fault plane. This was very relevant to the Youngstown injection well because the borehole penetrated about 200 feet into the basement rock and actually penetrated a fault. Normally these basement faults cannot be detected by any logs in wells that are limited to the overlying sedimentary layers.

Faults in the sedimentary layers above the (generally Precambrian) basement are rarely the source for the larger, potentially damaging earthquakes. Experience in Ohio and elsewhere indicates that these dangerous induced earthquakes occur in the basement rocks.

Therefore a minimum recommendation is that the installation of at least one initial seismometer near every well targeted for fracking or waste disposal should be required. If activity above a yet to be defined threshold magnitude near the well is then detected, an array of at least 4 sensitive stations need to be added before fracking or injection can resume. The Ohio injection well monitoring plan currently requires 4 sensitive seismic stations. These seismic stations have come into play because both the Youngstown injection well and one or both of two 2014 injection wells in Niles, Ohio have triggered additional earthquakes.

The fracking process itself has also triggered earthquakes in Ohio. Two of the only five reported cases, worldwide, are in the Buckeye state. The induced seismicity due to fracking in Ohio drew public attention in March of this year when 77 earthquakes ruptured at least 300 meters of a previously unknown fault under a municipal waste landfill. It now turns out that in October of 2013, over 400 earthquakes were generated due to fracking in Harrison County, about one hundred kilometers to the south. This information was kept secret from the public until the publication of a scientific journal article about the event (Friberg et al, 2014). Several of the 2013 earthquakes were magnitude 2.0 or greater and met the criteria for listing on the ODNR OhioSeis website. They were not posted.

After the March 2014 fracking earthquakes the ODNR made the following statement:
New permits issued by ODNR for horizontal drilling within 3 miles of a known fault or area of seismic activity greater than a 2.0 magnitude would require companies to install sensitive seismic monitors. If those monitors detect a seismic event in excess of 1.0 magnitude, activities would pause while the cause is investigated. If the investigation reveals a probable connection to the hydraulic fracturing process, all well completion operations will be suspended. ODNR will develop new criteria and permit conditions for new applications in light of this change in policy. The department will also review previously issued permits that have not been drilled.
In Ohio activities will pause at a Magnitude 1.0 event. After England’s fracking-induced earthquakes, the cut-off was set at Magnitude 0.5. The newly proposed seismic magnitude cut-offs in the Illinois traffic light approach (Green <2, Yellow 2 to 4, and Red >4) appear too high and are not restrictive enough to provide an appropriate level of public safety. For example, the observed seismicity due to fracking in the Horn River Basin of British Columbia, Canada were from Magnitudes 2.2 and 3.8 (British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission, 2012). These quakes were strong enough to deform the well casings in the lateral portions of nearby wells. This would fall in the Illinois Yellow zone, which requires nothing mandatory until three such events, after which there would be a consultation.  The Northstar 1 well in Youngstown was shut down on December 30, 2011 and was followed by a Magnitude 4.0 earthquake the next day, which caused damage to peoples’ homes. In his report, Dr. Kim of Columbia University (Kim, 2013) concluded, “that continued injection of fluid at Northstar 1 well could have triggered potentially large and damaging earthquakes.”

In regards to the geology, the 1000+ eastern Ohio earthquakes occurred on inactive faults that are over one billion years old. These faults would not have moved, if there had been no injection or fracking. Illinois has two known earthquake zones, The New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones. Illinois already has a known seismic risk. Illinois needs to write rules that are more restrictive than Ohio, not less. The state’s regulators also need to work with geologists and geophysicists, that have no conflicts of interest regarding oil and gas, to delineate regions of the state that are off-limits to both fracking and injection wells.  Given what is already known about the historical seismicity in the region, to not do so, would be irresponsible and willfully ignorant.

Anna, The Former Earthquake Capital of Ohio, had damaging earthquakes in 1930, 1931 and twice in 1937. It also suffered swarms of aftershocks, a qualitative indication of human caused earthquake triggering. Based on local newspaper accounts John Armbruster, (Seismologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory) confirmed that there were oil and gas wells operating in that area at the time of the quakes. Because of the Anna’s seismic swarms and prolonged series of earthquakes, he considers it a candidate for triggering, but without more detailed knowledge it is difficult to make a strong case.

The policy for posting a seismic event on the ODNR website is that the earthquake was felt or it was magnitude 2.0 or greater. Earthquakes in Mahoning and Harrison counties meet that criteria and have not been posted.  The company doing the injecting and the ODNR control the data for Trumbull county and we have to trust them that there have only been the two earthquakes.  I have filed a public records request through my state representative’s office over two months ago and have not yet received any information.

Finally, I stress the importance of realizing that rules or permit conditions do not prevent earthquakes, in Ohio or anywhere else.

References cited:

British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission, 2012, Investigation of Observed Seismicity in the Horn River Basin, Viewed November 3, 2014

Friberg, P.A., Besana-Ostman, G.M., and Dricker, I., 2014 Characterization of an Earthquake Sequence Triggered by Hydraulic Fracturing in Harrison County, Ohio, Seismological Research Letters Volume 85, Number 6 November/December 2014

Kim, W. Y., 2013, Induced seismicity associated with a fluid injection into deep well in Youngstown, Ohio, J. Geophys. Res. 118, 3506– 3518,

Linert,  B. J., 2014, Scientists search for clues in quake, September 3, 2014 Warren (OH) Tribune Chronicle, Viewed November 3, 2014

McCarty, J.F., 2013, Youngstown man admits dumping toxic fracking waste into Mahoning River, The Cleveland Plain Dealer , August 29, 2013, Viewed November 14, 2014

Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological Survey, Recent Events List, Viewed November 3, 2014

Runyan, E.,2014, Earlier Weathersfield quake accompanied increase in pressure at well
September 13, 2014 Youngstown (OH) Vindicator Viewed November 3, 2014

Skoumal, R. J. ,2014, Optimizing Multi-Station Earthquake Template Matching Through Re-Examination Of The Youngstown, Ohio Sequence, Master‘s Thesis, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

Skoumal, R. J., Brudzinski, M. R. and Currie, B. S. , 2014,  Induced earth- quakes during hydraulic fracturing in Poland Township, Ohio, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. (submitted) and personal communication

Monday, November 3, 2014

Warning Signs: Toxic Air Pollution Identified at Oil and Gas Sites - Community air monitoring reveals chemicals linked to health hazards

Warning Signs: Toxic Air Pollution Identified at Oil and Gas Sites REPORT RELEASED October 30, 2014.
Read the summary of the report here.
Read the full 40 pp report as a PDF file here.
Warning Signs: Toxic Air Pollution Identified at Oil and Gas Sites Community air monitoring reveals chemicals linked to health hazards

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ohio Citizens Urged To Rally Behind Bill of Rights Effort in Youngstown - Door-To-Door and Financial Help Requested!

The 2014 Election Day is rapidly approaching and we need your help in passing the Community Bill of Rights Charter Amendment. The Community Bill of Rights asserts our unalienable rights to breathe clean air, drink pure water and exercise local control to ensure a safe and healthy community now and in the future.

We are seeking your help and there are many ways to support the Bill of Rights effort.

In May of 2013, the first time it was on the ballot, the CBR garnered 42% of the vote; in November, it was endorsed by 45% of the voters. Given increased publicity about the hazards of hydraulic fracturing"”to say nothing of the recent spate of earthquakes near Poland, Ohio"”we are quite confident that this time the public is ready to support our right to clean water, clean air, and local control.

Can you help us get the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights passed? We want to finance a direct mail campaign that will cost about $5,000. Two small billboards will total $1,500"“$1,800 dollars for the month remaining before the election. And much-needed radio time, to be effective, would start at $500. During the last election, our opponents spent over $81,000 against the initiative; our treasury"”built with small donations and bake sale proceeds"”stands at about $1500.

Please consider supporting the hard work that the FrackFree Mahoning Valley activists have been doing and will continue to do until this charter amendment is passed. No one in the group is paid for any of the countless hours they have spent gathering information, knocking on doors, talking to citizens, educating the public about the issue, designing literature, etc.

Any amount would be helpful, of course, but we are asking you to dig deep and help us get this done.

Please visit our two websites, and, both of which have been developed and are maintained completely by volunteers.

We hope you share our conviction that allowing fracking and injection wells in the city of Youngstown would be a monumental mistake, and that the only way we can protect Meander Reservoir, Mill Creek Park, and the city itself from this real threat is to pass the Community Bill of Rights on Nov 4, 2014.

Checks can be made out to the Community Bill of Rights Committee and sent to PO Box 43, Youngstown, OH 44501.

Thank you for your support.

Please contact Protect Youngstown NOW thru Nov. 3rd and Help the #Youngstown ballot initiative (ISSUE #4 Community Bill of Rights) get a YES! vote on November 4! ~ Can help immediately - need not be a Youngstown resident - call 234-201-0402 or email: to arrange your canvassing/ flyer-ring hours and get your list of confirmed addresses and map. This is NOT cold-calling - these are known confirmed individually addressed voters.

Help Phone Bank NOW!
Call for phone number lists:

READ MORE on how to help:

Print a donation flyer:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Coast-to-Coast March for Climate Action Arrives in Mahoning Valley, Youngstown, Ohio

Coast-to-Coast March for Climate Action Arrives in Mahoning Valley, Ohio, Thursday, October 9, 2014

OHIO – On Thursday, October 9th, the Great March for Climate Action will enter the Mahoning Valley on their route from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The marchers marched over 2,600 miles to reach Youngstown through flash floods, blinding dust storms, excessive drought, crop-crushing hail, and tornado watches.
Marchers have looked forward to Ohio as a challenge and opportunity to address the state’s toxic injection wells storing radioactive frack waste and they will interact with neighboring communities dealing with the consequences of these wells. The Climate March will inspire action as they pass through the state laying the foundation for residents to continue acting long after the marchers leave.
# # #
October 9, 2014 Mahoning Valley Events and March Route:


ALL TIMES ARE APPROXIMATE! Contact: Frackfree Mahoning Valley 234-201-0402

SAFETY NOTE: Great March for Climate Action would like anyone marching or assisting to please don bright colours, a hunter-orange cap, or a neon safety vest - thank you for staying safe along these busy thoroughfares.

Event on Facebook:

7:00am Thursday, October 9. Leave Newton Falls, First Section, 12.4 miles, 5 hours

12noon - 12:30pm Welcome & Lunch
     Welcome to the Mahoning Valley Greeting and Picnic Lunch MEDIA INVITED!
     On the Niles Greenway bike path, corner of State Rt. 46 and Salt Springs Rd., Mineral
     Ridge, Ohio
     Join us in welcoming and/or join in the March. Bring a picnic lunch.

12:30pm Second Section: Bikeway, 4.1miles, 90 minutes
    March past Meander Reservoir, the drinking water for 220,000 people and out to Mahoning Avenue.. 
    Having traveled through Toledo on the way, it is very important that we do not take great drinking water
    for granted. Our water must be protected!
2:00 pm  Arrive at Mahoning Avenue, 30 min snack & water break at Mill Creek/MetroParks Bikeway's 
    Mahoning Avenue Trailhead

2:30pm  Third Section: 8.3 miles to camp, 3 hours, 20 minutes
    March up Mahoning Ave to downtown Youngstown
    Community members especially welcome at this juncture and anywhere along Mahoning Ave. to
    accompany Marchers, and to lend a hand pushing/pulling March cartage - use WRTA bus #40.
    Residents of Youngstown can easily take the #40 Austintown bus to wherever the March is at
    that time and march back into Youngstown. ($3 - must have EXACT change)
    Bus leaves Federal Station(340 W Federal St, Youngstown, OH 44503) at 3:10pm Arrives Austintown
    Plaza at 3:33pm. Walk 3 blocks west to the bike path trail head.
    Leaves Federal Station 4:10 Drop off wherever March is.
    Leaves Federal Station 5:10 Drop off wherever March is.
    BUS SCHEDULE: BUS info: 330-744-8431
    877-845-9782 Bus route PDF

5:30pm Arrive at Mister Peanut bridge, cross Mahoning River into downtown MEDIA INVITED!.
    Additional Youngstown residents gathering at the B&O Station Brewery and joining March
    Good photo op of  50 Climate Marchers and Welcoming city residents coming over the bridge together.
    Continue though city past Youngstown State University.

6:30pm Arrive at Elm Street overnight site, FOOD AND REST at The First Unitarian Universalist Church
      of Youngstown
,1105 Elm St [Elm & Illinois], Youngstown, Ohio 44505 330-746-3067
      NOTE: assistance will be provided in getting local spirit marchers back from the UUYO Church to the
      Mister Peanut  bridge/B&O Station Brewery

7pm Wednesday, October 8, 2014. A segment of the Marchers will be guests at A Community Revolution: Elevating the Rights of People and Communities Over Corporations presentation by Thomas Linzey, Executive Director, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) in Moser Hall, Room 2000 (Schwebel Auditorium), 134 Lincoln Ave, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH 44503
FREE and open to the public. There is FREE on-street parking after 5 p.m. at the metered parking spaces along Lincoln Avenue and nearby streets.

_ _ _
Great March For Climate Action on Facebook:

Bus route and schedule:
WRTA BUS #40 / Austintown  route and schedule
First Section: Newton Falls to intersection Salt Springs Road & Rte 46
Second Section: intersection Rte 46 & Salt Springs Road to Mahoning Avenue, Austintown
Third Section: Trailhead on Mahoning Avenue to The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

More Earthquakes Could Follow, Frackfree Mahoning Valley Calls For Immediate Halt to Fracking Waste Injection Wells Near Youngstown, Ohio

Frackfree Mahoning Valley                                             News Release




Youngstown, Ohio, September 3, 2014 – Here we go again? Could the Youngstown, Ohio, area face more earthquake swarms due to fracking waste injection?

       In the interest of protecting the public health, safety, and well-being, concerned citizens of Frackfree Mahoning Valley (FFM) are calling for an immediate halt of all waste injection at two, new Weathersfield injection wells that are, reportedly, near the epicenter of the 2.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred on August 31, 2014 in the Weathersfield/ Niles, Ohio area.  FFM wants to know if waste injection is still ongoing at the wells, or not.

       Please see a WFMJ-TV news report of September 2, 2014, titled, “ODNR investigating quake centered at Weathersfield injection wells,” at the following url:

       For an earlier news report, please see a WFMJ-TV news report of September 1, 2014, titled, “Weathersfield earthquake raises new questions about injection wells,” at the following url:

       Frackfree Mahoning Valley says that it recently held a press conference on August 14, 2014 in Youngstown, where geology professor, Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer, raised questions about a July 11, 2014 “Order by the Chief” of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) allowing an increase of injection pressure at one of the two injection wells in Weathersfield.  FFM distributed copies of the ODNR order to media who were in attendance at the press conference.

       Frackfree Mahoning Valley observes that about two weeks after urging more scrutiny into ODNR’s allowing increased injection well pressure, a 2.1 magnitude earthquake occurred.  Was this just a coincidence or is it linked? FFM says that an objective, independent, scientific investigation should take place to see if there is an actual link that can be documented. The group says that all injection at the Weathersfield/Niles injection wells must stop now.  The public deserves to know whether or not increased pressure actually was implemented at the injection well, or wells, before the earthquake occurred.

       Many questions remain:  As mentioned above:  Was there an actual increase in pressure at the injection well following ODNR’s July 11, 2014 order? Is the Youngstown-area community on the path of having yet more earthquakes due to deep well waste injection that may have lubricated an unknown or known fault?

       Why should the local community care about a 2.1 magnitude quake? There are many reasons, including that Youngstown has already experienced a swarm of at least 109 tremors followed by a now-famous 4.0 magnitude earthquake on December 31, 2011, linked to an injection well, Northstar 1. 

       The group says that the link of fluid injection into injection wells and potential man-made earthquakes (induced seismicity) has been established scientifically for decades. If the current 2.1 magnitude quake is indeed associated with the injection well or wells, could Youngstown be facing more, and possibly bigger earthquakes to come? 

       The largest earthquake linked by scientists to waste injection wells is a Prague, Oklahoma 5.7 magnitude quake in 2011.  One alleged victim has recently filed a lawsuit in that case. FFM says that earthquakes cannot be strictly regulated to keep them small.  This is toying with nature and needs to stop. The risks and costs of potential earthquakes are too high a price to pay, says FFM.

       Frackfree Mahoning Valley stresses that more scientific investigation is needed before anyone can claim definitively that the Weathersfield injection wells and the earthquake event is linked in reality. One should not leap to conclusions, but it is still a good, valid, scientific question considering the proximity of the wells to the August 31 earthquake epicenter and the established history of man-made seismicity associated with injection and fracking wells in the Youngstown, Ohio, area.
       Could this 2.1 magnitude quake be the beginning of a series of quakes similar to the 2011 earthquake swarm that science has now shown involved over 109 tremors?
Please see the following chart that lists some of the earthquake activity in 2011:
       Frackfree Mahoning Valley says it does not have confidence that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will adequately safeguard the public health and safety based upon ODNR’s previous handling of the 2011 earthquake swarm related to the Northstar 1 injection well that led to the 4.0 magnitude earthquake. That quake was reported as felt in the local area, several surrounding states, and as far away as Canada.  Throughout most, if not all, of 2011, ODNR denied and minimized the significance of the possible injection well links to the repeated local earthquakes, as evidenced by the following Vindicator timeline: 

       See “Earthquake Time line,” Vindicator, March 16, 2012:
       Please also see a March 17, 2014 press release by Frackfree Mahoning Valley for more details of the group’s concerns about ODNR’s handling of the 2011 earthquake situation at:
       FFM says the right thing to do to protect public health and safety is for ODNR to immediately halt injection at the Weathersfield injection wells, if it has not done so already.

       Furthermore, ODNR and local officials should be making plans for earthquake preparedness and educating the public of correct earthquake preparedness safeguards since apparently our area has become earthquake-prone when it never was before.

       As part of a previously planned educational talk titled, “The Science of Shale Gas: Geology, Seismology and Environmental Concerns,” geologist Ray Beiersdorfer, Ph.D., Professor of Geology at Youngstown State University, will answer questions and provide the latest scientific information that he has gathered about the August 31, 2014, 2.1 magnitude Weathersfield earthquake. Dr. Beiersdorfer will also provide new information about the March, 2014 earthquakes in Poland Township, Ohio, that took place near a horizontal fracking well operation.  All media and the general public are invited to attend this free event.  Dr. Beiersdorfer’s talk will be held on Wednesday, September 3, 2014, at 7:00 PM, Eastern Time, at Youngstown State University (YSU), Moser Hall, Room 2000. Dr. Beiersdorfer’s talk is part of an educational speaker series on Energy and the Environment that is taking place this Fall, 2014 semester on Wednesdays at YSU.  READ MORE:

       An important excerpt from a journal article discussing the Northstar 1 injection well by Dr. Won-Young Kim follows:

Although we do not know the WSW-ENE extent of the fault(s) in the Youngstown area, it is possible that continued injection of fluid at Northstar 1 well could have triggered potentially large and damaging earthquakes. “
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH: SOLID EARTH, VOL. 118, 3506–3518, doi:10.1002/jgrb.50247, 2013  “Induced seismicity associated with fluid injection into a deep well in Youngstown, Ohio,” Won-Young Kim

For media inquiries or more information, please contact Frackfree Mahoning Valley at:
234-201-0402 or e-mail:

                                                                            # # #

UPDATES on Niles injection wells on facebook at: 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

New Disturbing Fracking Waste Injection Documents Uncovered: Press Conference Thursday August 14 Youngstown, OH 11AM

Frackfree Mahoning Valley News Release






Youngstown, Ohio, August 13, 2014 – Concerned citizens of Frackfree Mahoning Valley (FFM) will hold a press conference in Youngstown, Ohio, on Thursday, August 14, 2014, at 11:00 AM, to distribute and discuss new and troubling fracking injection well-related Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) documents.

Teresa Mills of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) recently received the documents from ODNR as part of an Ohio Open Records request. CHEJ is a nonprofit organization founded and led by Lois Gibbs whose heroic efforts successfully addressed a high profile environmental justice situation in Love Canal, near Niagara Falls, New York, in 1978 to 1980.

The Ohio Open Records request uncovered an important new injection well document related to Northstar One, which was the injection well that caused, according to preeminent scientists, a swarm of 109 earthquakes in Youngstown, Ohio, including the now-famous 4.0 magnitude earthquake of December 31, 2011 that was reported as felt in surrounding states and as far away as Canada.

In addition, another Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) document gives new information regarding a Weathersfield, Ohio injection well, near Niles, Ohio.

Frackfree Mahoning Valley says that the many questions raised by these new ODNR documents deserve immediate attention and answers because they could have public health and safety implications for the local community and even surrounding states. There are important new scientific studies regarding induced seismicity, or man-made earthquakes, as it relates to injection wells. These studies have implications for understanding induced seismicity in our local area and beyond.

Geologist Ray Beiersdorfer, Ph.D., Professor of Geology at Youngstown State University, will give a brief statement at the press conference and address any media questions. Dr. Beiersdorfer will discuss some recent scientific information that he has gathered.

Copies of documents and other information will be provided for media.

The press conference will be held in Youngstown, Ohio, on Thursday, August 14, 2014, at 11:00 AM, Eastern time, on the public sidewalk in front of Youngstown, Ohio City Hall at Boardman and Phelps Streets.

All media are invited to attend.

For media inquiries or more information, please contact Frackfree Mahoning Valley at:
234-201-0402 or e-mail:

# # #

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Giant Garage Sale to Benefit Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Fracking Ban Citizen Initiative

Saturday August 2, 2014, 11 am to 8 pm:
B&O STATION 530 Mahoning Ave. Youngstown, 44502. $10/vendor (You keep Your Sales –Must provide your own table/tarp) OR Items for the CBR Tables and monetary donations gratefully accepted.
Music by THE OLD GOATS at 7 p.m. and Other Entertainment. Friends/Food/Drink/Community/Info exchange.
For more info contact Susie 330-881-1050 or Diana 330-718-4923.
Printable FLIERS > (2 per sheet)
~ DONATIONS may be mailed: checks can be made out to the Community Bill of Rights Committee and sent to PO Box 43, Youngstown, OH 44501.
Or sent online securely at GoFundMe at
Sponsored by: Committee For The Youngstown Community Bill of Rights, Valerie Dearing, treasurer; and Frackfree Mahoning Valley

Friday, May 30, 2014


Youngstown, Ohio, May 29, 2014 – Frackfree Mahoning Valley (FFM), a group of concerned citizens who oppose fracking and related processes, still has serious concerns and questions about the new radioactive waste plant that plans to store and treat potentially radioactive fracking waste in the heart of Youngstown, Ohio. FFM is holding a townhall-style meeting on Thursday June 5, 2014 to address some of these issues. EVENT HERE
Thursday 5-7pm, The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown 1105 Elm St. (Elm & Illinois), Youngstown, Ohio 44505
            In an astonishing new development, FFM just received disconcerting documents on May 28, 2014 as a result of a public information request by Freshwater Accountability Project.  These documents seem to show that Austin Masters Services is claiming trade secret protections regarding the unusual method they plan to use at the Youngstown facility to determine radioactive material levels, specifically TENORM.  FFM asks how such a sensitive and important issue as determining radioactivity levels can be subject to trade secrets? This is an issue of public health and safety. No secrets should be allowed. How did the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) grant a license for what now appears to be a secret method? Has this method been properly validated by independent scientists?  This is just another major reason to halt these operations now while crucial information about its safety is gathered, examined, and enforced.

       Other big questions that still remain unanswered are:  Why does it seem that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) was rushing to get a radioactive waste facility permitted without public knowledge or even Youngstown City Council’s knowledge? Did ODNR fear that the public would not want this radioactive waste facility in their community if they knew about it ahead of time, or that due diligence involving public health experts and physicians would show that the operation is too high risk to operate in Youngstown near residential areas?

       Does ODNR have the expertise to “regulate” radioactive material? We believe that they do not. Who does ODNR have on staff right now who is certified and scientifically qualified to monitor, regulate, and enforce rules in case there is any violation occurring?  As far as we can determine, there are no pertinent ODNR new rules in place to regulate TENORM (technologically-enhanced naturally-occurring radioactive material), so how can there be any violation prevented if there are no rules?

       These are just a few of the questions that FFM says the general public deserves to have answered and that should have been answered before ODNR permitted the operations in question at the plant.

       FFM says ODNR should immediately revoke the “permit” for newly permitted operations at 240 Sinter Court based upon, in part, the risk to public health, safety, and welfare, and the fact that local officials and the community had not been fully informed or notified about the operation. Worker safety must be safeguarded.  Operations permitted by the ODNR “Chief’s Order” , dated March 6, 2014, should immediately halt in the interest of safeguarding the public health, safety, and welfare. 

       Frackfree Mahoning Valley (FFM) says it is very troubling that local elected officials did not know about the existence of the ODNR “Chief’s Order” for this radioactive waste plant until very recently. There are still too many unknowns about this plant.

       The existence of this operation was first revealed by a heroic and persistent concerned citizen, Teresa Mills of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, who used a public information request to get the information from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. If she had not been diligent, it is probable that our community would still not know what is happening in their midst.

       It should not be this difficult for the public to get the information from the state regarding operations that carry high risk, especially since they involve the handling of radioactive materials. This is especially true when these operations are physically placed near residential areas close to homes, schools, and not far from the Northstar 1 injection well that is linked to over 100 earthquakes in Youngstown, Ohio, including the now-famous 4.0 magnitude December 31, 2011 earthquake. Some nearby residents say they experienced damage to their homes as a result of the 4.0 magnitude quake.

       Youngstown Mayor, John McNally, should take the lead and responsibility for doing proper due diligence to ascertain exactly what is going on at the 240 Sinter Court waste facility.  Mayor McNally’s statements to the public on May 21, 2014 give the impression that he apparently accepts that the operation is safe even though he has not yet provided written scientific proof to the public that shows on what documentation he is basing his opinion. It is important to stress that this is a newly permitted operation.  This company is attempting to do something that it, reportedly, has not done before. A Business Journal article referenced the Pennsylvania-based Austin Masters Services, the company that ODNR has “permitted” to deal with radioactive waste, in the following quote:

       “The technology has been used for years in other industries, but this is the first time Austin Masters has tried to apply it to the oil and gas industry.”

       (“Company Gets Permit to Handle Radioactive Waste,” by Dan O’Brien, Youngstown Business Journal, April 21, 2014 at:   )

       We repeat that due diligence should have been done before the plant was permitted. We understand that city officials were not notified by ODNR, but this is part of the problem for which we are now seeking fair and positive solutions. Why didn’t ODNR inform or notify Youngstown officials and the general public ahead of time?

       In addition, most of the fracking waste that will be accepted at the new radioactive waste facility is probably coming from new unconventional horizontal fracking, possibly from out-of-state as well as from within Ohio. (This will also have to be ascertained). This fracking waste potentially comes from different sources than the kind of conventional vertical drilling many people are familiar with in Ohio. Therefore, this is a relatively new development in the situation that should be considered.

       This is a very important point. Too frequently, some gas and oil industry representatives or politicians who state that “fracking has been going on for decades” are referring to a different kind of well, using decades-old drilling technology. In contrast, we are referring to the new, unconventional, horizontal, high pressure, high volume, slick water kind of fracking wells or drilling operations. This is different. This unconventional, new technology is only about a decade old. It is misleading for some politicians and industry representatives to repeatedly tell the public that industry has been fracking for sixty years and, thereby, imply that this new, unconventional, horizontal drilling is a proven and old technology. It is not. It does involve new technology. Misleading or misdirecting statements about how long the industry has been fracking must not go unchallenged.

       Please see Dr. Anthony Ingraffea’s excellent explanation of the difference between unconventional wells vs. conventional wells at the following link:

       We request that Youngstown City Councilwoman Annie Gillam please follow through with her statement to attendees at the May 21, 2014 Youngstown City Council meeting to the effect that ODNR should be called in to explain the newly permitted waste operation to Youngstown City Council, local officials, and to the general public.

       Furthermore, Youngstown City Councilman, Paul Drennen told WFMJ TV, in a May 21, 2014 news report:

        “If there was something going on with this company and they weren’t following the rules or things were happening because of what they were doing that were harming the environment or individuals, yeah, as City Council, we would definitely push that up to the state level and the ODNR to make sure everybody was doing what they were supposed to be doing.”

       FFM asks City Councilman Drennen: According to our research, there are no relevant, new, required ODNR rules in place to regulate TENORM at this facility.  If you did not know that this operation was even happening in Youngstown, how can you be sure that they are not breaking the rules or potentially adversely affecting public health and safety?  We ask that you please do take up this issue, based upon your statement to the media, and as an elected representative of the public interest. We respectfully request that you and Youngstown City Council do your due diligence and get feedback from independent scientists, physicians, lawyers, medical and public health professionals, and the general public as it pertains to this new operation. We as citizens cannot wait for an accident to occur before we act to protect our community from potential harm. We cannot act after damage has been done, especially if it is irreparable damage. We must be proactive to prevent harms or injustice in our communities.

       In the interests of full transparency, we are respectfully requesting a presentation format for an ODNR meeting that would allow questions and dialogue between ODNR presenters and the public or independent experts in real time, preferably televised or otherwise broadcast or published, so that the public has access to the information that it needs to make informed decisions regarding our communities.

       The bottom line is that there is no good, safe or fair way to “dispose” of the millions upon millions of gallons or tons of toxic, potentially radioactive fracking waste that is constantly being generated by the oil and gas industry. Where will all of the fracking waste go?  The enormous amount or volume of oil and gas waste being produced is new and unprecedented.  (Please see news article below). The industry must stop generating it.

“Radioactive Waste Booms With Fracking as New Rules Mulled,” by Alex Nussbaum, April 16, 2014, Bloomberg at:

        The size and massive scale of planned industrialization related to fracking, related processes, and infrastructure is changing our American landscape and quality of life for millions of people. Not everyone welcomes this kind of change on a grand scale, especially when no one consulted nor fully informed the American people about risks and downsides to hydraulic fracturing. In fact, many people, especially those living near these operations, feel that unconventional, horizontal shale gas development and associated practices are unacceptable, a threat to their health and safety, and are a serious injustice that must be acknowledged and fairly resolved.

       FFM says it does not want the 240 Sinter Court operation to act as a “magnet” for attracting even more potentially radioactive or toxic fracking waste to be trucked or otherwise transported through our neighborhoods and surrounding communities.  More questions arise, such as the following:

       Upon what routes is the waste being transported? How many fracking waste trucks are expected to travel through our neighborhoods and highways, and who will pay for any road damage or potential accidents – the taxpayers?  Which landfills are being considered for taking this waste? Are there federal or state laws governing the transport of radioactive waste and, if yes, how will this be monitored and enforced? The citizens have the right to know this information since there are risks to public health and safety, especially in light of astonishing special exemptions for the gas and oil industry as it relates to trucking regulations.  

       (Please see “Deadliest Danger Isn’t at the Rig but on the Road,” by Ian Urbina, May 14, 2012, The New York Times at:    ;

and:  “Fracking boom producing deadly side effect,” May 5, 2014, Associated Press, on CBSNews at:     )

       To help get answers to some of these important questions, Frackfree Mahoning Valley will hold a public townhall – style meeting for residents and officials of Youngstown and all surrounding communities, including Poland, Boardman, Austintown, Struthers and more, since what Youngstown officials allow in the heart of the city potentially affects the public health, safety, and well-being of those communities. If this radioactive waste facility is permitted to operate, it will necessitate that (if not already in place) these same communities prepare emergency preparedness plans, evacuation plans, and first responder training at the taxpayer expense, apparently. Who is expected to pay for this?

       The Frackfree Mahoning Valley townhall-style meeting on Thursday June 5, 2014, is open to the public.  All media are invited to attend.  The townhall meeting will be held from 7:00PM to 9:00PM at The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown at 1105 Elm Street, Youngstown, Ohio 44505. Frackfree Mahoning Valley will present information at the townhall, and there will be time for townhall attendees to ask questions and/or share their information and concerns in an effort to find positive solutions to our collective concerns.

       We are urging surrounding community public officials, representatives, and citizens to please attend especially since the public are not yet informed of what routes the fracking waste will travel through if this plant is allowed to operate. Media and attendees from other states are also urged to attend.

       FFM says that a May 27, 2014 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article includes issues relevant to the current situation in the Youngstown area:

       See “Two more drilling sites found with Marcellus Shale sludge radioactivity in Washington County; DEP sees no threat,” by Don Hopey, May 27, 2014, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at: