Cincinnati becomes first Ohio city to ban injection wells | Environment
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Submitted by Alison Auciello
Following Wednesday's unanimous vote by the Cincinnati City Council to ban injection wells associated with the disposal of waste from hydraulic fracturing, the citizen’s advocacy coalition Southwest Ohio No Frack Forum called on the state legislature to protect Ohio residents and their natural resources by banning all fracking-related activity throughout the state.
Fracking is an unconventional natural gas drilling method that involves pumping millions of gallons of water, silica sand and as many as 750 chemicals into the earth to release natural gas from hard rock formations. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) expects to permit over 2,250 fracking wells by 2015, which would create billions of gallons of fracking waste. Though local geologists claim that Cincinnati is not a favorable location for fracking, the shallow layer of sandstone makes it a desirable site for waste injection.
Fifty percent of the fracking wastewater being injected in Ohio well sites is coming from out of state, including Pennsylvania and as far away as Texas.
Alison Auciello, coalition member and an Ohio-based organizer for Food & Water Watch said, “We are happy that Council has acted quickly to protect Cincinnati residents from the associated risks of underground waste disposal. We look forward their continued leadership on the issue of fracking.”
Injection of fracking waste into a disposal well in Youngstown was determined to be the cause of at least 11 recent earthquakes, according to the ODNR. In their testimony at Tuesday’s committee meeting on the ordinance, citizens raised concerns about the potential for landslides resulting from increased earthquakes.
“The sludge and flammable wastes from fracking in eastern Ohio pose a health risk if they are transported here,” said No Frack Forum member Jim O’Reilly. “We applaud Cincinnati for taking the lead on saving us from the deluge of eastern Ohio's toxic chemical wastes.” A 2004 state law removed local zoning authority from municipalities specifically regarding the permitting of oil and gas activities. However, City Council has the ability to prohibit all types of injection wells as a zoning use.
“I’m proud to be a leader in the first city council in Ohio to ban injection wells, “ says Council Member Laure Quinlivan. “We’re acting to make Cincinnati cleaner, greener and smarter.”
For more information on the affects of fracking on communities and safe drinking water, including a list of communities that have taken action against fracking-related activities, see the fracking fact sheets and resources at:http://www.fwwatch.org/water/fracking