by Andy Brownfield and German Lopez
Quinlivan outlines danger of fracking waste injection in afternoon press conference
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
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
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.
by German Lopez
Mayor Mark Mallory and local attorney Stan Chesley announced in a press release that they will be speaking later today about the city’s pool season. The unusually hot summer has sparked some calls that the city should keep pools open for longer, and it looks like the mayor may be ready to meet demands. Mallory and Chesley will make their announcement at 1 p.m.City Council moved to ban wastewater injection wells, which are used to dispose wastewater that is produced during fracking, within city limits. Studies have linked the injection wells to earthquakes, including a series of tremors felt in Youngstown, Ohio around New Year’s Eve.Today is Marriage Equality Day and Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Which one will you take part in?The Public Library Association says the downtown branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County was the busiest library in North America in 2011. The ranking compared 1,300 public libraries from the United States and Canada.Councilman Chris Seelbach was allegedly assaulted by an unidentified man Monday night when exiting a downtown bar. Seelbach was reported to be in good condition, and he said the incident will not deter him from spending time downtown in the future.Cincinnati manufacturing slumped during July, according to the Cincinnati Purchasing Management Index. It’s the first time the index has shown economic contraction since late 2009.Gov. John Kasich is still planning to cut the state’s income tax, and his next target for paying for it seems to be the state sales tax. Kasich wants to limit tax credits, deductions and exemptions in the sales tax to pay for the income tax reduction.President Barack Obama reached 50 percent support in key swing states in the latest Quinnipiac poll. The poll put him at 50 percent and Mitt Romney at 44 percent in Ohio. Without Ohio, Romney would have a very rocky — if not impossible — road to the White House.Ohio Democrats are telling Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to keep quiet about his opinions of the Voters First redistricting amendment while his office verifies the signatures. Husted called the request “absurd.”Rep. Steven LaTourette, an Ohio Republican, announced his retirement from politics yesterday. The congressman blamed his retirement on the lack of bipartisanship in Congress. LaTourette was one of the few Republicans to support labor unions, and he was known for criticizing Republicans for being completely unwilling to raise taxes.General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt told the Financial Times he sees little future in nuclear power. Immelt argued that the future of energy is natural gas, which is now largely obtained from fracking, and renewable resources like solar power, hydropower and wind power.The psychological abuse of children is common but underreported, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.Scientists have invented pills that electronically remind health-care providers when a patient needs to take his/her meds.
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.