February 07, 2013

Not Your OOAK in Ohio

What recently happened in Ohio with intentional and deliberate dumping of approximately 20,000 gallons of toxic waste from gas drilling using technology known as HVHF, fracking, is alarming on many levels.  I sadly doubt it is a one of a kind event.

Here we are a week AFTER the spill and still the state has not disclosed what chemicals are actually involved and the exact quantity dumped into Ohio's storm drain.  Ohio is desperately short staffed to adequately inspect drilling operations in the state.  The same is true for just about every state which has allowed HVHF!  Staffing shortages will also be the same scenario if NY were to go forward with drilling permits.  

Paper laws and regulations do not physically change the chemicals already in the ground and water flows.  As precious time wastes, the chemistry of that toxic radioactive brine is flowing through water and seeping into soils.  Is there a known threshold of safe toxic exposure?  I think not.
The December 2011 study, compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey, also found that the median levels of radium in brine from Marcellus shale wells was more than three times higher than brine collected from conventional oil and gas wells.   The Columbus Dispatch, Sept 2012
Although it is known that Hard Rock Excavating was the perpetrator, do we seriously believe they are the only outfit to date to commit such a crime? I cannot help but wonder how many times a truck gets rid of its load so it can go back to site and haul more ... $$$.  How many times do water withdrawals occur in areas where it is not regulated?

To listen to state officials in Pennsylvania and West Virginia about success stories from natural gas drilling is absurd because they do not handle HVHF waste within their own borders!  They ship it to Ohio! 
Thousands of Marcellus shale wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania. Of the 12.2 million barrels of brine injected into Ohio disposal wells last year, 53 percent came from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.   The Columbus Dispatch, Sept 2012
While attending the DEC Budget Hearing on Feb 4 in Albany I heard Joe Martens suggest that the troublesome company problems in PA would not be experienced in NY.   Somehow our loophole, lacking proposed regulations were going to assure that!   In reality, it is the same groups of major corporations operating in PA and other states in the northeast and elsewhere.  Who they contract work with may vary regionally, but the land leases are owned by the select club of industry giants.   We should expect no different operations in our own state than what we are seeing now in Ohio, West Virginia and PA.

We cannot afford to wait for "the big one" before acting responsibly for the health and safety of all citizens.   High volume hydraulic fracturing and it's toxic waste products must stop.  NY and any state considering to enter into permit drilling agreements with natural gas companies must keep a keen eye on the disasters happening around the country.   The writing is definitely on the wall.

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