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Ohio Utica Shale

Group demands federal EIS on Ohio River fracking terminal

By Bob Downing Published: March 11, 2013

A press release received today:

Meigs Citizens Action Now


P.O. Box 518

Athens, Ohio 45701

Phone: (740)-416-2694


March 11, 2013


Contacts: Terry Lodge (Attorney): (419)-255-7552

Elisa Young (Meigs CAN): (740)-416-2694



Meigs Citizens Action Now (Meigs CAN), a Southeastern Ohio grassroots community group,

is waiting for a response from the United States Coast Guard regarding a demand letter

calling for an environmental impact study (EIS) of Texas-based GreenHunter Water LLC’s

proposed transfer station. If approved, the facility would transport produced water and

flowback from fracking sites through the Ohio River by barge for bulk disposal.

“This type of activity is unprecedented,” said Elisa Young, founder of Meigs CAN, “Both in

terms of the volume and the content of the waste involved. This would be the first facility

of its kind in the country. Each barge could carry up to 4.5 million gallons of fracking waste.

There has been no limit set. The waste is known to contain diesel fuel, chemicals classified

as hazardous waste, carcinogens, and radiation levels 300 times higher than the Nuclear

Regulatory Commission allows for industrial releases. Evaluating the impacts to public

health and safety from hauling this through our drinking water must be done in a sound,

scientific way.”

GreenHunter Water, LLC of Grapevine, Texas, leased riverfront property in New Matamoras,

Ohio, last year with the intent of setting up interstate waste transfer operations. The site

includes a cluster of tanks originally installed for oil storage. They could hold 70,000

barrels (or 2.8 million gallons) of waste at a time. The 10-acre site has changed ownership

multiple times since Mobil originally constructed it in the 1960’s. The current owner,

Pennsylvania’s Weavertown Environmental Group, specializes in industrial accident

response, and has applied to open a solid waste transfer facility on the same site.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, who was granted jurisdiction over

GreenHunter’s unprecedented facility, announced that no permits would be required to

approve the terminal. Meigs CAN disputes this decision, and believes the United States

Coast Guard must conduct a thorough evaluation of the potential impacts and impose

appropriate regulatory safeguards before allowing this activity to proceed.

Page 2

“The only public notice regarding this facility was an industry press release stating that

GreenHunter Water had commenced operations last July. When it came to our attention, I

called to ask why there had been no public notice and was informed that no permits had

been issued, and that they were still in the process of determining which regulatory agency

would have jurisdiction over GreenHunter’s operation.”

The ODNR ultimately was granted jurisdiction of the facility, and rendered the decision that

no permits would be required for “temporary” storage or transfer of the fracking waste.

ODNR staff geologists do issue permits for high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing and

injection wells for waste disposal, but they have no training or qualifications to determine

whether air or NPDES permits are necessary to protect public health, safety, or the

surrounding environment. With no similar facilities in existence, it is impossible for them

to base the decision to waive permits on emissions, routine or accidental release estimates

from similar facilities.

“People in Southeastern Ohio are acutely aware of what an unregulated, undisclosed

chemical can do to their drinking water here on the Ohio River,” said Young. “We became

part of the largest human health study ever undertaken in the United States after a huge

cattle die-off caused by Dupont’s release of C8 (used to make Teflon) into our environment.

When the U.S. EPA stepped in, we learned C8 was present in our private and public drinking

water supplies at greater levels than Dupont previously claimed was safe for their own

employees. What happens when an entire slew of undisclosed chemicals shrouded in

proprietary secrecy is released into our drinking water, like the D&L injection well

operators dumping into the Mahoning River? The only way to verify the potential impacts

of GreenHunter’s proposed facility is for the Coast Guard to complete an EIS.”

Requests for transparency and opportunities for public participation have been denied by

the Coast Guard to date. Requests to identify the criteria for setting the Texas limited

liability corporation’s bond for damages, disclosure of chemicals, and basic first responder

training in the event of routine or accidental releases also remain unanswered.

“A lot of the overall project is being kept secret,” said Terry Lodge, Toledo attorney for

Meigs CAN. “We want the Coast Guard to explain where all the garbage from this gigantic

scheme will go and let the public decide if Ohio will be left with the liability in the event of

unplanned releases or accidents. The public must be able to understand the dangers to

human health and the environment that thousands of transport truck tankers carrying

millions of gallons of radioactive and carcinogenic waste might create. Questions of

ultimate disposal and the apparent indifference toward environmental enforcement laws

lead us to believe that this is yet another ‘fast one’ the captured regulatory agencies are

putting over on the public for the benefit of corporate profit.”

The group will be lining up additional public support for the environmental impact

statement in the coming weeks.




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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.