Saturday, October 26, 2013

Western Ohio Fracking Awareness Coalition (WOFAC) Presents its First Town Hall Meeting

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"Will Western Ohio Become part of Ohio's Dumping Ground for Toxic/Radioactive Waste from fracking?" This is the question that will be asked when the Western Ohio Fracking Awareness Coalition (WOFAC) presents its first Town Hall meeting on Monday, October 28, at 7:00 p.m. in the EUM Church, 1451 Sater Street, Greenville. Because of the seriousness of this question and other questions that will be asked, the public is urged to attend.

There is a dark side to fracking and its growing need for disposal wells. Where documented spills have occurred in Wyoming, Texas, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and yes, Ohio, farmland has been turned to wasteland and productive dairy cows have been poisoned along with their milk, making it unfit for human consumption.

According to a study done by Michelle Bamberger and Robert E. Oswald, two researchers from Cornel University, the consequences ranged from near-immediate death to still births and genetic defects in offspring that persisted years after the cows were exposed to fracking brine waste water. Bamberger and Oswald said that evidence was scarce, in large part because drilling companies go to great lengths to keep that information hidden. In spite of its repression, the information is getting out loud and clear. People throughout the state and the country are finding out the hard way that what is harming cows is also harming them.

According to a report in the Pennsylvania's Beaver County Times, Randy Moyer became ill after he had been driving a tanker truck to haul brine mixed with waste water from hydraulically fractured gas wells to a waste injection site. A hard worker, he took pride in his job, sometimes scrubbing down the inside of the tanker. After he had been on the job just a few months, from August to November 2011, he was too ill to work. Suffering from dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, difficulty breathing, swollen lips and appendages, he was also in tremendous pain from a fiery red rash that he said covered almost 50 percent of his body.

"They called it a rash," Moyer said of the doctors who treated him during his 11 trips to the emergency room. "A rash doesn't set you on fire."

Moyer's story does not begin nor end here. This waste has been documented by both scientific and geologic studies to contain uranium, radium, radon, lead, hydrogen sulfide, arsenic, lead, cadmium, toluene, benzene, ethylene glycol and a host of unknowns. Ohio law does not require tests for these chemicals and when people are exposed to them neither they nor their doctors know what is making them sick.

The chemicals that are reported sound harmless enough, especially when they are used in vasoline, cosmetics, soaps and a myriad of other products. Nevertheless, toluene is used in making some brands of nail polish. As a solid waste report once stated, "If nail polish were disposed in gallon jugs it would need to be taken to a hazardous waste disposal facility."

According to the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) it takes between 2 and 5 million gallons of water to fracture a single well one time, and each well may be fractured multiple times. Between 15% and 35% of the fluids stay underground in the well itself, while the remainder returns to the surface and must be disposed. When you consider all of the wells that are being permitted and fracked, OEC states there are billions of gallons of this waste fluid left underground, while tens of billions more must be re-used or injected into Class II disposal wells.

Because the chemicals used in fracking are still considered to be harmless brine and saltwater, they are not considered dangerous by Ohio law and are permitted to be disposed in Class II disposal wells which were not designed for the disposal of radioactive or hazardous wastes. By comparison, hazardous and nonhazardous industrial waste must be taken to deeper Class I injection wells. Class IV wells, which were designed specifically for radioactive waste, were banned in this country as of May 11, 1984.

A favorite comment that is often made by salaried public-relations spoke persons for the gas and oil industry is that fracking has been done safely for 60 or more years and during that time there has never been one water-well contamination because of the process.

It is true, there never has been one water-well contamination, there have been thousands! In fact, after considerable study, ODNR issued a 153-page report in 2007 that traced a Cleveland house explosion to methane gas that was released from a hydraulic fracturing well. The report stated that the well's faulty concrete casing and the pressure from hydraulic fracturing pushed methane gas into an aquifer from where fresh water was drawn, causing the explosion. ODNR reported that 1,000 gallons of fracturing fluid, including 150 gallons of oil, had also leaked onto the ground.

Dennis Coleman, a geologist in Illinois and a leading international expert on molecular testing, has reported he has seen an example where methane gas has seeped underground for more than seven miles. He said this is several times what industry spokes persons say should be possible. There is no such thing as impossible, Coleman said, "Like everything else in life it comes down to probability."

Patrick Jacobson, a rig worker, who manages drilling fluid pumps and has worked on Wyoming drilling projects for more than 20 years said, "I think anybody who works in the oil fields, if they tell the truth, would tell you the same thing. "It is common knowledge that the lower layers of the earth are full of irregularities and inconsistencies," he said. " Benzene, a chemical sometimes found in drilling additives, was discovered throughout a 28--mile-long aquifer in Wyoming after having been injected for disposal."

Another important fact is emerging.` As water shortages occur and the world's population increases, "Will there be enough water to go around?" This was pointed out on October 27, 2007, when Barry Nelson, a policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council said, "The last century was the century of water engineering. The next century will be the century of water efficiency."

WOFAC asks, " Can anyone honestly say that fracking waste and its disposal is a safe and efficient use of water?"


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