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August 1st, 2012 By Andy Brownfield and German Lopez | News | Posted In: News, Development, Environment

Council Approves Ban on Injection Wells

Quinlivan outlines danger of fracking waste injection in afternoon press conference

quinlivanCouncilwoman Laure Quinlivan

Without much fanfare but with supporters looking on in the Losantiville Room in Union Terminal, Cincinnati City Council passed an ordinance on Wednesday banning the injection of wastewater underground within city limits.

“I’m proud to be on the first City Council to ban injection wells,” said Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan, who submitted the ordinance to council.

“I want to give props to the solicitors … who have come up with a very unusual thing in City Council — a one page ordinance.”

The ordinance, which passed unanimously after being voted out of committee on Tuesday, is aimed at preventing the injection of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, under Cincinnati. Its injection has been linked to a dozen earthquakes in northern Ohio.

Opponents also worry that the chemicals in the water, which is used to drill underground to free up gas and oil, can seep into drinking water.

Oil and gas companies aren’t required to disclose which chemicals they use.

It’s unclear if the city’s ban on wastewater injection would hold up against a 2004 state law that gives the state of Ohio sole power in regulating oil and gas drilling. That regulatory power also extends to Class 2 injection wells.

At a news conference earlier in the day, Quinlivan cited a ProPublica story that said between 2007 and 2010, one well integrity violation was filed for every six wastewater injection wells.

She says data like this makes it clear injection wells are too dangerous.

Food and Water Watch organizer Alison Auciello spoke in support of the City Council ordinance at the news conference.

“We’re pleased City Council has moved swiftly for the protection of its citizens,” Auciello said.


The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has received no injection well permit requests for southwestern Ohio, but Auciello says the legislation is a good preventive measure.


Heidi Hetzel-Evans, a spokesperson for ODNR, says it wouldn't be feasible to build injection wells in southwestern Ohio due to the region's geology.


"It's safe to say oil and gas drilling has no direct impact on southwestern Ohio," Hetzel-Evans says.


Auciello says more bans like the Cincinnati ordinance are necessary in Ohio. She says she’s concerned that Ohio is being turned into a dumping ground as massive amounts of wastewater from Pennsylvania are brought to Ohio due to a lack of regulation.


Auciello also echoed calls from environmental groups to ban fracking in Ohio. However, fracking supporters — including Gov. John Kasich — insist the process can be made safe with proper regulations.

This story was updated to reflect City Council's afternoon vote.

 
 
08.01.2012 at 01:58 Reply

she also wants to rename it "fricking"

 

08.01.2012 at 02:52

Ha! Good one. Nice to see humor make a return to our 'punch CityBeat in the face' booth … I mean, comments section :)

 

08.01.2012 at 05:06 Reply

Funny that Hetzel-Evans says that. Tom Tomastik from the ODNR was the one who said that companies were looking at injecting waste in Cincinnati, due to the rail access and shallow sandstone.

 

08.01.2012 at 06:58 Reply

Can the moniker "the city that doesn't frack" be far behind???

 

08.01.2012 at 07:10 Reply

If there was shale under Cincinnati this might be important but since there doesn't seem to be any this is just a big waste of time.

Fracking has been around since 1949, tens of thousands of wells have been drilled in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.  Is there a study showing dirty drinking water in these states?

If there was shale how much money would this decision cost the city of Cincinnati?  You could probably fund a streetcar with the proceeds.

 

08.01.2012 at 09:43 Reply

If you care enough to want to write laws banning fracking, you also ought to care enough to know - there's no oil shales worth drilling into any closer than east of Columbus. I'm moderately irritated that our council wastes city time & money on BS like this.

 

 
 
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