0 Comments · Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Nobody stood up for fracking in a July 31
City Council committee meeting that saw dozens of people urge council
to pass an ordinance banning injection wells within Cincinnati.
by Andy Brownfield
Wording tries to skirt ODNR oversight
Nobody stood up for fracking in today's City Council
committee meeting that saw dozens of people urge council to pass an
ordinance banning injection wells within Cincinnati.
All members of the Strategic Growth Committee voted in
favor of the proposed ordinance, with the exception of Councilman Chris
Seelbach, who was recovering after allegedly being assaulted in downtown Monday night.
If approved, the ordinance would prohibit injections wells
— which inject wastewater underground — from being allowed within city
limits. It now goes before the full council.
The practice is commonly associated with hydraulic
fracturing – or “fracking” — which uses chemical-laced water to drill
for oil and gas. Fracking fluid injected underground has been tied to a
dozen earthquakes in northeastern Ohio.
A 2004 Ohio law puts regulation of oil and gas drilling
under the state’s purview, preventing municipalities from regulating the
The wording of the proposed Cincinnati ordinance doesn’t
mention oil or gas drilling, which proponents say they hope will keep it
from clashing with the state law if it passes.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Heidi Hetzel-Evans tells CityBeat that injection wells also fall under ODNR’s purview.
She says she isn’t sure if the proposed Cincinnati ordinance would conflict with the state law.
“It’s very hard for ODNR to speculate on what might
happen,” she says, adding that there aren’t any injection wells or
applications for them in the Cincinnati area. “This may not be an issue
that’s ever tested.”
That didn’t stop the dozens of people who spoke in favor
of the ordinance at the committee meeting from erupting into applause
once the ordinance was approved.
Barbara Wolf, a documentarian who has made a video about
Cincinnati’s Water Works, said that the city has some of the cleanest
water in the world, and chemicals from hydraulic fracturing could
“We are studied by other countries,” Wolf said. “If it
(fracking fluid) goes into the Ohio River, we don’t know what the
chemicals are. It’s very hard to clean up chemicals if you don’t know
what they are. And that’s one of the things we do really well: clean up
by German Lopez
Posted In: Oil
at 11:10 AM | Permalink
Agency authorized 36 permits in June, up from 20 in May
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is not being slowed down by critics of hydraulic fracturing. ODNR in June authorized 36 new permits for horizontal drilling wells used for the process also known as fracking, a record for ODNR, according to Friday's Hannah Report.Carroll County was at the top of obtaining new permits with 11 total. Columbiana County followed with seven new permits, and Harrison County was third with nine. Chesapeake Energy Corporation obtained most of those permits, a total of 22.CityBeat spoke with Carroll County Commissioner Jeffrey Ohler, a Republican, in June about the impact of fracking on his county. Ohler was generally skeptical of how many domestic jobs fracking had created in the county, and he said he was cautious about the long-term economic impact the influx of fracking activity could have in the area.Critics claim fracking is too dangerous and its risks are too unclear. In a June 17 rally, environmentalist group Don’t Frack Ohio took over the Columbus statehouse asking state officials to put a stop to fracking. More than 1,000 attended the rally, according to the organization.But some state officials, including Gov. John Kasich, say the process can be safe with regulations in place. In June, Kasich signed into law S.B. 315, which added new rules and regulations to the fracking process. Following that, Kasich signed an executive order on July 12 that strengthened state regulators with the ability to stop and impose new requirements on wastewater injection wells deemed risky or dangerous.The wastewater injection wells were the most likely cause of recent earthquakes in Youngstown, Ohio around New Year’s Eve. In response, Kasich placed a moratorium on deep wastewater injection wells in the area.Fracking is a process in which millions of gallons of water are pumped underground to release oil and gas from rock formations. The water is then recycled and deposited in underground facilities known as wastewater injection wells.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 20, 2012
With issues surrounding fracking, natural
gas and oil dominating headlines recently, Josh Fox’s 2010
Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning documentary Gasland seems all too
relevant. The film is two years old, but the stories presented in the
film are now — more than ever — resonant with the people of Ohio.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: News
at 03:33 PM | Permalink
State parks, forests undergoing assessment
Imagine: You take your children to the park for a leisurely stroll beside some calm lake waters. You're looking for pure, unadulterated nature; an escape from the industrial hullabaloo that is city life. Instead, you find several areas of the park blocked off, occupied by massive machines sucking out shale and oil through the process known as "fracking." According to an investigative report from The Columbus Dispatch, that image might not be far off. Dispatch found that 18 employees from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) have been working to assess the availability of Utica shale in parks and forests across the state, resources that could eventually be marketed to oil and gas drilling companies. The concentrated push has involved a widespread, coordinated effort to examine public records and assess original mineral rights on Utica shale across the state. In the past, drilling companies have offered as much as $5,000 per acre to landowners in Eastern Ohio to procure mineral rights. The undertaking potentially signifies ODNR's interest in profiting from fracking sales in the future; cataloging mineral rights means easing the process of selling land to drillers once they make initial offers. Fracking, the relatively new drilling technology that involves blasting thousands of gallons of water into the earth to fracture shale and free trapped, valuable natural oil and gas. It's been touted as a way to expose previously unavailable areas underground for drilling and has been subject of discussion on its economic value and potential.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Ohio environmentalists and conservationists won a small
victory against the fracking industry June 6 when Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) decided to halt all water
sales from Ohio's largest contained watershed to drillers in the oil and gas
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: News
at 11:18 AM | Permalink
Lack of information, understanding of industry spurs halt
Ohio environmentalists and conservationists won a small victory in the fracking industry today when Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District decided to halt all water sales from Ohio's largest contained watershed to drillers in the oil and gas industry. Environmental groups have expressed concern that the watershed's water supply could be sold for use in fracking, a fairly new drilling technique in which thousands of gallons of chemical-laden water are shot into the earth in order to fracture shale and free natural oil and gas. Critics of the process say more research is needed on the technique to fully understand fracking's long- and short-term environmental and economic effects. (Read CityBeat's June 6 cover story, "Boom, Bust or Both?" about Ohio's fracking industry, here.)The decision to postpone the sales will be held until data is received in a water-availability study that's currently underway. Pending analysis of the study's results, MWCD plans to update its water supply policy to help deal with interested clients in the future.
believe strongly that it is in the best interest of the public we serve
and the conservancy district to not entertain any water supply requests
until this study has been completed and the MWCD has had an opportunity
to update its water supply policy for review, public discussion and
consideration of the MWCD Board of Directors,”said John M. Hoopingarner, MWCD executive director/secretary in a press release. The MWCD will honor its preexisting agreement to provide Gulfport Energy Co. with 11 million gallons of water from Clendening Lake in Harrison County.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Anyone who has heard about how important
bees are to the existence of humanity understands the fundamental
frailty of our ecosystem (and maybe likes honey a lot or has really
nerdy friends). Such an individual would have been interested in today’s
news that the Asian longhorned beetle will soon reemerge in Clermont
County and threaten to eat all the trees.
by Danny Cross
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has returned
more than $100,000 in campaign contributions in response to an FBI
investigation into 21 donors who had no record of giving to federal
campaigns and many appearing to have low incomes. Mandel, a
Republican, is running against incombent Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Mandel's campaign treasurer Kathryn Kessler sent a letter to donors
explaining that any contributions appearing to be under investigation
would be refunded.
From The Toledo Blade:
Although the campaign provided a copy of the letter to The
Blade, it would not explain the timing of the decision or how long it
has been aware of the federal probe.
The Blade revealed the unusual pattern of contributions in
The company's owner, Benjamin Suarez, and 16 of his employees
(plus some of their spouses) gave about $200,000 to Mr. Mandel and
U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R., Wadsworth) last year. Each of those donors
gave $5,000, the maximum allowable amount, to one or both candidates.
The Ohio Senate yesterday passed new
fracking regulations, and the final version caused some environmental
organizations to change their stance on the bill. The Ohio
Environmental Council and the Sierra Club had both been neutral on
the legislation until changes were made forcing anyone suing over
chemical trade secrets to show current or potential harm, according
to The Enquirer. The regulations are part of Kasich's new energy bill
and easily passed both the Senate and House and is expected to be
signed by Kasich soon.
Cincinnati Public Schools says it will
apply for the latest available federal education grants, which amount
to nearly $700 million. The grants are geared toward helping schools
proceed with reform and innovation.
According to a new poll, President
Obama leads Mitt Romney in Ohio by six percentage points. Wonder if
Obama's “cow pie of distortion” speech had anything to do with
The John Edwards trial has entered day
six of deliberations.
United Nations inspectors have
reportedly found uranium in Iran enriched beyond the highest levels
previously reported. One diplomat said the measure could actually be
a measurement error, though the reading could also mean that Iran is
closer to producing bomb-grade uranium than previously thought.
Scientists might be one step closer to
creating birth control for men after U.K. scientists found a gene
used to enable sperm to mature.
From USA Today: “Profits at big U.S.
companies broke records last year, and so did pay for CEOs.”
Facebook's initial public offering
didn't go entirely as expected, and some investors are getting
refunds after technical problems and other issues marred the
company's first week of trading.
The Reds completed a four-game sweep of
the Atlanta Braves last night, winning their sixth in a row and
overtaking the St. Louis Cardinal for first place in the NL Central.
by Jac Kern
at 11:04 AM | Permalink
The Sierra Club and Food & Water Watch
present a screening of Josh Fox’s fracking documentary, Gasland, tonight at Esquire
Theater. Learn more about the controversial natural gas drilling techniques
taking place across Ohio, and discover potential health/environmental risks
that can result. The free screening begins at 7:30 p.m. followed by a
discussion with the event’s hosts, Representative Denise Driehaus and Southwest
Ohio No Frack Forum. RSVP here
— seats are first come, first served.
The Mercantile Library
welcomes author and garden designer Jon Carloftis
to speak as part of its Hearth & Home Lecture series. Carloftis, a Kentucky
native, has been featured in magazines and television and has won awards for
his landscaping, gardening and writing. He’s a driving force behind the
now-popular trend of small space/rooftop gardening. Lit lovers and gardeners
alike will enjoy hearing him reflect on his work. The lecture begins at 7 p.m.
tonight; admission is $15, $10 for members.
Shane Mauss kicks off his weekend at Go
Bananas tonight. Mauss has appeared on Conan
O’Brien (both shows) four times, is a regular on The Bob and Tom Show, has been
featured on Comedy Central and travels across the globe performing at
international comedy festivals. Tonight’s show features opener Michael Palascak
and MC Kelly Collette. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $8, $4 with college or
Winedog Wine Shoppe and Art
Gallery hosts a Last Blast of Spring tonight from 6-9 p.m. Enjoy shop wines
from Ralph Taylor, Spanish wines from Edgar Saborit of Cat Wines USA and Babee
Bites Catering hors d’oeuvres by Debbie Hook. The shop’s attached gallery,
Souleiado will feature artwork by Donna Schwarz and live music from Cheryl
Renee. Guests should have already reserved their spots; find out more about
closes its speaker series tonight with Andie MacDowell — Acting As A Way
Of Life. MacDowell has acted in Groundhog Day, Four Weddings and a Funeral,
Sex, Lies and Videotape and many other films and television programs. She also
works to raise awareness for heart health. And she has amazing hair. Check her
out tonight for a lecture and Q&A session at 7:30 p.m. at the Aronoff
Center. Tickets are $25-$85; find them here.Check out more events, art exhibits and theater shows on our To Do page and follow our music blog for nightly shows.