A press release received today from Cincinnati:
City Council resolution supports statewide ban on fracking waste disposal
Cincinnati – City Council today approved a resolution
supporting a statewide ban on the disposal of toxic waste from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in injection wells. Cincinnati enacted a citywide ban on all deep-well injection of wastes in 2012.
The dramatic increase in fracking to extract natural gas in Ohio led Representative Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) and Representative Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) to introduce House Bill 148 earlier this month. In 2012, Ohio’s 178 active injection wells accepted nearly 14 million barrels of brine and liquid waste, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The bill would ban Class II fracking waste injection wells in Ohio. It would also prevent waste from being discharged into Ohio’s waterways after treatment, and would make it illegal for municipalities to use the liquid waste from oil and gas operations for dust and ice control on roadways.
“While the risks of injecting these wastes are still largely unassessed, what we do know is that fracking wastewater is known to contain toxic levels of chemicals that are hazardous to human health and the environment,” said Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, who introduced the resolution. Qualls noted that the fracking process also involves permanent removal of large quantities of water, threatening the health of streams and lakes; and increased heavy tanker traffic on roadways, threatening toxic spills and infrastructure damage. The disposal of the wastes, under extreme pressure thousands of feet below ground, is also believed to trigger earthquake activity.
“The short-term windfall from fracking must not outweigh our obligation to protect public health and our land and water resources,” Qualls said. “I’m proud that Cincinnati has already taken measures to protect our community and encourage the state to follow our lead.”
“In the absence of truly safe disposal methods, the burden should be placed on the industry to come up with safe alternatives or cease to create the waste in the first place,” said Alison Auciello, Ohio-based organizer for Food & Water Watch, a grassroots organization that is working for passage of the bill and also pushed for the Cincinnati ban.