(Posted by Trent A. Dougherty, Director of Legal Affairs, Ohio Environmental Council, Director of Ohio Environmental Law Center)
Today, State Representative Jay Goyal (D- Mansfield) introduced the first sweeping update of Ohio’s fracking waste disposal since the shale boom began, and the first reforms in reaction to the nearly dozen injection well induced earthquakes in Youngstown throughout 2011.
Ohio Environmental Council was honored to play a role in the crafting of the legislation, and the reforms in the bill echo many of the recommendations OEC made before the Youngstown City Council in January.
Here are some of the highlights of the legislation:
- Increase public notice and commenting requirements
- Allows local entities (e.g. city councils, county commissioners, etc) to deny injection well permits
- Require injection well owners to conduct chemical tests to determine what chemicals will be injected into the disposal well
- Require injection well owners to conduct ground water monitoring
- Require seismic testing
- Requires background checks on operators;
- Requires recycling of waste fluid FIRST, Disposal SECOND.
As horizontal drilling and fracking rip across much of Ohio, the need for safe disposal methods for the millions of gallons of waste fluid must be a top priority for Ohio.
Thank you, Representative Goyal for the foresight to introduce legislation to not only protect Ohioan’s right to be protected against the risks of fracking waste disposal, but give back citizens and local governments their voice.
For years Ohio has been the low rent, high risk dumping ground for out of state waste fluid. This legislation will give Ohio the tools to protect our communities from health and safety risks of disposing this waste.
Beyond the much needed environmental and human health protections in this bill, Rep. Goyal’s proposal will provide the public with more and better notification of these and the ability for communities to say NO if their Sometimes whole communities do not know that an injection well until it’s drilled, or unfortunately, in rare occasions, the moving earth lets them know.
This bill will give the power to the people to be adequately notified, and for local citizens and governments be full participants in the permitting process.