On Sunday, November 1, 2015, the U.S. Forest Service (FS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced plans to consider leasing over 31,000 acres of public mineral rights underneath Ohio's Wayne National Forest to private oil & gas companies.
In their Public Notice riddled with errors (including wrong day, bad webpage link, and inconsistent acreage numbers), the FS/BLM announced that they would hold "Scoping Meetings" to provide information on the Proposal and solicit "feedback" from interested parties. However, no project details were provided in the Notice or otherwise made available.
In addition, the Notice also states that the FS/BLM has already pre- decided to conduct piece-meal Environmental Assessments by district before receiving public "feedback" and despite the enormous footprint and potential impacts of this forest-wide proposal.
The FS/BLM are clearly indicating that they have already made the determination to categorically exclude the Proposal from full National Environmental Policy Act scrutiny in an effort to fast-tract the handover of public rights for private exploitation at the expense of forest ecosystems.
As has become their tactic, the Proposal is being lobbed at the beginning of the family holiday season and provides barely two-weeks notice prior to the first meeting. The dates and locations of the known meetings are as follows:
Tuesday, November 17: Marietta,
Ohio. Marietta College, Andrews Hall Great Room 203, 215 Fifth Street: 6:30-8:30 PM.
Wednesday, November 18: Athens, Ohio. Athens Community Center Multipurpose Room A, 701 East State Street: 6:30-8:30 PM.
Thursday, November 19: Ironton, Ohio. Ohio University Southern Campus, Collins Center, Bowman Auditorium, 1804 Liberty Avenue: 6:30-8:30 PM.
We are asking people to attend the scheduled meetings, if possible. BFC members will be at each meeting. There is strength and synergy in numbers.
If you can't attend, please submit written comments critical of this contrived NEPA process, limited and incorrect notice, poor timing, and piece-meal Environmental Assessment approach. Demand that the FS/BLM:
1. restart the process with proper Federal Register notice;
2. provide additional and meaningful opportunities for public input after the first of the year;
3. revise the outdated Wayne National Forest Plan to include consideration of the impacts of new oil & gas extraction technologies prior to leasing federal mineral rights;
4. prepare a full & comprehensive EIS to address the site-specific AND cumulative impacts of this forest-wide proposal.
5. not subsidize the oil & gas industry by handing over public rights at the bottom of a local & worldwide energy market; and
6. prevent further contribution to climate change by keeping these public fossil fuels in the ground undisturbed.
For background information on previous attempts to lease mineral rights under the Wayne, please see:
Frackfree America National Coalition, Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ),FaCT – Faith Communities Together for a Sustainable Future,NEOGAP (Network for Oil & Gas Accountability & Protection), Buckeye Forest Council
Freedom From Toxic Fracking Waste and Earthquakes: Concerned Citizens Announce a National Day of Action for November 17, 2015
Five organizations are coordinating a National Day of Action to take place on November 17, 2015 to raise public awareness of the serious threats to public health and safety from toxic and radioactive waste from hydraulic fracturing operations in the United States. This will be a timely event especially in light of increasing numbers of incidents associated with hydraulic fracturing (frack) waste.
The title of the November 17th nationwide event is: “Freedom from Toxic Fracking Waste and Earthquakes: A National Day of Action.” On that day, a national coalition of local coordinators and groups in communities across America will hold various events and actions throughout the day to shine light on the numerous problems associated with toxic fracking waste and its disposal, including its links to earthquakes, spills, and leaks.
Toxic and/or radioactive waste injected into disposal wells has been linked by scientists as causing earthquakes in Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and other states, including in a number of areas which were previously seismically inactive. Waste transported and injected into wells also has been associated with contamination of water.
Since the federal classification of the waste from the oil/gas industry is listed as a “solid waste,” many states allow this waste to be dumped into our landfills. This practice threatens our drinking water. Some states allow the waste to be used as daily cover on landfills, causing further concerns for air emissions. In addition, some states allow desiccated oil and gas waste “brine” (dried saline toxic and radioactive waste) to be spread on roadways to melt ice and snow. Much of this material eventually is picked up by wind and spread into the air, threatening the health of those who might inhale it. This practice also threatens both surface and ground water.
According to the coalition, permitted shale development wells will result in tons of radioactive drill cuttings and millions of gallons of toxic fracking wastewater being created, transported, and disposed of somewhere. Although the liquid fracking waste is frequently referred to by the industry or others as “brine,” “saltwater,” or “produced water,” the groups say that these euphemistic terms are highly misleading and give the public a false sense of reassurance about the alleged safety of the fracking waste.
Ron Prosek of FaCT – Faith Communities Together for a Sustainable Future said, “Fracking waste is the kind of thing Pope Francis was referring to when he said that we humans are turning our beautiful Creation into ‘filth.’ And this filth is more than just a defacing. It is a killing poison. As people of faith, we appeal to the consciences of all persons of goodwill and ask them to participate in a local action on November 17 to call attention to this moral outrage and to demand that fracking waste be banned.”
The groups cite a recent incident in Vienna, Ohio that demonstrates dangers associated with injection wells (WKBN-TV, April 5, 2015). In Vienna, a release of fluid near an injection well operation destroyed two wetlands and killed fish, turtles, and small mammals. As reported in the WKBN news story, one Vienna resident said regarding her water source: “It is my only source of water, drinking water, food source, bathing water. And if that is contaminated, I don’t know what we are going to do… .”
[ Please see the following news video and article titled, “Hundreds attend public meeting on Vienna oil spill,” by Derrick Lewis, 4/5/15, WKBN TV 27: ]
For media inquiries or for more information on fracking and related processes, injection or disposal wells, toxic and radioactive fracking waste, or how to coordinate or participate in a local rally, please sign up for free e-mail updates on the Frackfree America National Coalition website and/ or contact us by phone, website, Facebook, twitter, or e-mail:
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Morgan County well blow out
Photo by USEPA
On Sunday May 4, 2014
The oil production well pad is situated on a man-made earthen platform, with steep embankments to the north, east, and south. As a result of the well head failure, drilling fluid discharged out of the well boring and onto the surface of the drilling pad and down gradient into storm-water control and naturally occurring drainage features adjacent to the north, east, & south perimeters of the well pad and to an unnamed creek downstream of the ditches. The unnamed creek flows for ¾ mile before leading to Cow Run Creek, and Cow Run Creek flows for a mile before leading to Olive Creek. Olive Creek then flows for a mile before meeting with the Muskingum River a tributary of the Ohio River.
In addition to the drilling mud and wet gas, natural gas was released causing an explosive atmosphere leading to dangerous working conditions and the evacuation of 7 residents from 3 homes adjacent to the site.
ATHENS, Ohio — State officials escorted about 100 people out of an information session on a proposed “fracking” waste well last night after the crowd tried to take over the Ohio Department of Natural Resources open house and turn it into a public hearing.
The group was ordered to leave the department’s Division of Wildlife regional headquarters in Athens after former Athens County Commissioner Roxanne Groff announced that she would be moderating a hearing on the well and taking public statements. At that point, an ODNR official informed Groff, who is a member of an anti-fracking group, that the event was not a public hearing but an open house, in which the public could ask questions of individual experts on hand, but not make public statements.
The crowd burst into applause when Groff asked, “Would the public in attendance like me to go on?” but ODNR officials ordered the protesters to leave. As they did, they chanted, “You have trampled on our rights! You have denied us due process.”
Re: Follow Up To Today’s Occupation of Ginsburg Injection Well
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 19, 2012
Today, a group of Athens County residents wearing hazmat style suits and respirators, and carrying large placards emblazoned with skulls, blockaded the front gate of the Class II injection well on Ladd Ridge Road in Athens County, Ohio. Protesters blocked the entrance to the well’s delivery pad. No trucks arrived to dump frack-waste while the protesters made their stand, successfully interrupting the day’s business. When the police arrived and asked protesters to disperse, they did so. There were no arrests.
Protesters demanded that the Ginsburg Well be shut down, citing numerous violations and shut down orders that the ODNR has issued and then refused to enforce. The injection well is known to accept millions of gallons of radioactive fracking waste from out of state. The protesters noted that this week, the ODNR has issued 4 new well permits, 3 of them in SE Ohio, despite the fact that they are not regulating the wells currently in operation.
“Frack-ers stay out of town, Cincy ain’t your dumping ground,” was one of the chants to the crowd of some 15,000 Cincinnatians led by Danny Berchenko of 350.org. We had consistent applause throughout the parade route and a few people even got out of their chairs to march with us. It was abundantly clear to everyone that Cincinnati doesn’t want this industry in our city.
MWCD Suspends water sales pending further research!
Keep sending those letters we are making a difference
The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, MWCD, is a state agency that has control over this watershed, which covers 20% of Ohio and 18 counties. They have authorized the sale of about 11 million gallon of water to Gulfport Energy to finish a horizontal well a few weeks ago. They plan on selling many millions of gallons in the near future.
It is crucial that we write letters to the 18 Conservancy Court Judges asking them to stop this sale of water. You can write your own letter or just print this letter out, sign and send to all 18 judges - it will only take 5 minutes. Find out how here.