Friday, November 8, 2013

"That's The Big Fracking Deal" - A Guest Post from Tom and Jane Staley

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“What’s the Big Fracking Deal” was a recent headline in The Daily Advocate reporting on a town hall meeting conducted by the Western Ohio Fracking Awareness Coalition.

The big fracking deal is that Darke County, the premier agricultural county in Ohio, should not become the toilet for the oil and gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking) industry in eastern Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Each of many current and numerous projected fracking wells in Ohio produces millions of gallons of chemical laden, toxic, radioactive waste water that needs a home.

Our homes in Darke County need to maintain pure drinking water, fresh air and productive farm land.

Although politicians plead innocent to the possibility that Class II waste water injection wells may be punched through our sole source aquifer, the oil and gas representatives keep poking around. Why? They claim that transporting truck and train loads of the slop here from the east would be too costly. But scientists such as Dr. Julie Weatherington-Rice maintain that our underground Mount Simon Sandstone provides an economic advantage over drilling much deeper through eastern shale. That’d be a big fracking mess.

In December 2011, earthquakes occurred near active waste water injection wells near Youngstown. Governor Kasich declared a moratorium on Class II waste water injection wells for a year. Other officials claim they are safe. Around the clock tanker traffic would destroy the local roads and there is no requirement for the multibillion dollar oil and gas companies to rebuild them. Only one truck or rail hauling accident could ruin a neighborhood, small town or large farm for generations not to mention disabling health issues or death. That’s an earth-shaking deal.

By state law, Senate Bill 315, gas and oil companies do not have to disclose the chemicals used in the fracking operations. In the event of an accident with the toxic toilet water, first responders have no information regarding how to treat the secret chemicals. If skin lesions and respiratory problems develop, it would take days for physicians to get answers from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources about the specific chemicals for which they are treating their patients. Then they are under a gag order not to tell the patient.

And that’s a big fracking deal.

We need to contact elected officials from township trustees and county commissioners to state legislators and the governor to explain that we are not stupid and we will not become the nation’s toilet. No vague promises of jobs and get-rich-quick schemes are worth risking our health and our birthright.

We value our agriculture, our atmosphere and our aquifer.

That’s the big fracking deal.

Tom and Jane Staley

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