ODNR Still Refusing to Test Frack Waste; Take Action Now!

Thank you to all who participated in Tuesday’s day of action targeting Ohio’s Division of Natural Resources.  Thanks to you, we have documentation proving that ODNR officials have received at least 36 emails and 40 calls requesting that they fulfill their obligation to the health and safety of Ohioans and begin to test the fracking waste that is being injected into 172 wells across Ohio.

Last Monday, a group of dedicated residents called further attention to the injection of untested fracking waste by blockading a fracking wastewater injection well in Vienna Township, just weeks after a similar injection well shutdown in Athens County.  Monday’s action was covered by Democracy Now!, EcoWatch, and channel 27 news, among other local and national news outlets.

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BREAKING: Residents Blockade Injection Well One Week After 1,000 Gallon Fracking Waste Spill

Tragic well-blowout kills 1 in Bolivar. 

(Follow us on Twitter @OhioFracktion for updates)

Vienna, OH – Concerned residents blocked access to an injection well in Trumbull County this morning, protesting the failure of Ohio regulators to adequately test and monitor dumping of toxic fracking waste.  One supporter locked himself to the gate to prevent all trucks carrying fracking waste from entering the site.  Two activists were detained by police, and the supporter locked to the gate was eventually and safely removed by authorities and placed under arrest.  The supporter and detained activists were all released by police without bail a few hours later.

Trumbull County residents, along with supporters from Frack Free Mahoning and Ohio Fracktion, gathered at the well site on Sodom Hutchings Road in Vienna Township, to express concerns about the contents of the 1,000 gallons of fracking wastewater that spilled along five miles of road in Fowler Township, a nearby residential area on July 7.  They are demanding that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) begin systematically testing out-of-state frack waste that is injected into over 170 wells throughout Ohio.

According to spokesperson Mike Settles, emergency responders from Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted only a simple pH test of the spilled frack waste lining the roads of Fowler Township.  As far as further testing for radiation, heavy metals, and other chemicals, Settles explained that EPA doesn’t “have the resources” to perform testing unless there is a “legitimate concern” of environmental damage.  Thick, rust colored residue was still visible on the road over a week after the spill.

Photo from CantonRep.com courtesy of Nathan Mutschelknaus

Concerns over safety will only rise as another serious and deadly accident killed 1 in Bolivar just as the injection well blockade began.  Protesters and activists express their deep sympathy with the families and friends.  These accidents are an inevitable part of the process of fracking

Liberty Township Trustee Jodi Stoyak expressed her frustration with EPA’s response in a July 12 letter to Mr. Settles, noting “many of the chemicals used in [fracking] and contained in the waste are officially classified individually as hazardous….  This, in my opinion, is a huge environmental concern.”

ODNR officials have ignored numerous written and oral requests from Ohio residents to order testing of the countless gallons of out-of-state frack waste injected underground into Ohio each year.  In response to a recent public records request asking ODNR to release all testing relevant to fracking waste, ODNR Geologist Tom Tomastik provided no results taken after 1989.

A 2011 New York Times report revealed a widespread, massive presence of radioactive materials in fracking wastewater, including levels over 1,000 times federal drinking water standards.  A recent independently tested sample of frack waste from Athens County revealed elevated levels of barium, arsenic, toluene, alpha particles, and diesel particles nearly 300,000 times the federal standard for drinking water.[1]  State Representative Bob Hagan contacted ODNR with a copy of these results[2] on June 27 and requested that ODNR begin testing frack waste, citing his “serious concern that the safety and health of Ohio citizens is in jeopardy from the chemical contents of fracking waste-water.”  As of July 16, he has received no reply.

This blockade comes just weeks after Madeline ffitch of Athens County chained herself to two barrels, blocking access to an injection well in her community.  A statewide call-in day to demand that ODNR initiate a statewide brine-testing program is scheduled for Tuesday.

“How can the ODNR possibly allow fracking companies to dump untold volumes of fracking waste in our communities if they won’t even test it? How can they reassure us that a 1,000 gallon spill of waste is safe if they don’t even know what was in the fluid that was spilled?” asks Reverend Monica Beasley-Martin, who led fellow Trumbull County residents in prayer at the site.  “We have been asking too long, and we have had enough. We need safe water, and clean air.  Ohio is not a sacrifice zone, and Ohio is not a dumping ground. ODNR: test the fracking waste now!”

July 17th: Call ODNR and demand testing of fracking waste

*Don’t forget to register for this weekend’s anti-fracking action camp!*

For years, Ohio’s Division of Natural Resources has refused numerous written and oral requests to test the millions of barrels of fracking “brine” dumped into rivers, pumped into injection wells, and spread onto roads across Ohio (e.g. last weekend’s 100+ gallon spill in Trumbull County).

Now, Ohio is fighting back, and we need your help to hold Ohio’s “regulators” accountable for their inaction.   Continue reading

Anti-Frack Action Camp July 13-15/Day of Action July 16 – Register Today!

In June, 1000 residents converged in Columbus and passed the people’s legislation to ban fracking. But our legislature and regulators are in the pocket of the gas industry, so we must enforce the legislation with our bodies, courage and actions.  Register today for the upcoming anti-fracking action camp in Youngstown!

From July 13-15, this action camp will offer a wide array of workshops including community organizing, water-testing, watchdogging the gas industry, and a panel on local control.  In addition, an extensive nonviolent direct action track will teach us the skills necessary to pull off effective anti-fracking actionsClick here for a complete list of workshops offered.

At this camp, we are excited to host trainers from Seeds of Peace, a collective with over 25 years of history of experience working for environmental justice, to share their skills in blockades and other forms of effective direct action with Ohioans fighting fracking.  And we are happy to welcome our friends from the shadbush collective, who will be leading a workshop on building urban/rural soldarity.  Beyond workshops, we hope this weekend will provide a space for effective collaboration and trans-local organizing, uniting Ohioans from across the state with our allies from Pennsylvania, Michigan, and beyond.

On July 16, we will gather in Youngstown for a day of action to enforce the People’s Legislation against fracking.  We encourage folks who cannot attend the entirety of the action camp to join us in Youngstown for the Day of Action or to organize anti-fracking action in your community on the 16th.

Housing and food will be provided, but we need you to register now so that we can meet your needs!  Click here for more information, and email ohiofracktion@gmail.com with questions.

First Fracking Brine Sample Results Show ODNR Asleep at the Wheel

*Please forward widely to media contacts*

July 2, 2012
For Immediate Release

First Fracking Brine Sample Results Show ODNR Asleep at the Wheel

Columbus, OH — Results from a sample of brine from hydraulic fracturing operations have revealed numerous hazardous materials, leaving many residents increasingly frustrated at the inaction of Ohio’s Division of Natural Resources (ODNR), the agency responsible for regulation of the State’s shale development.[1]

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OhioFracktion Used Vegetable Oil Car!

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We at OhioFracktion are about to lose our car! The owner of the car that we have been leasing has decided to sell it, rendering us immobile. This situation catalyzed a period of reflection for us about our consumption of gasoline as an act of disastrous complicity with the oil and gas industry. After some research we decided that not only was making the switch to vegetable oil a morally advantageous decision, but also cost effective. The majority of costs that we incur doing this work are for gas.

This is because we drive to actions, community/public meetings/hearings, trainings, networking with ally groups around Ohio and beyond, etc. Unfortunately we do not have the funds to invest in a new vehicle/convert it to UVO, in part because of gas costs that we have thus far been covering out of pocket. This transition would allow us essentially unlimited travel at literally no expense (used vegetable oil is offered for free from many restaurants and most fast-food chains). After doing the conversion we will also be able to help others who are interested convert their own diesel vehicles to UVO.

We have found a diesel vehicle that we can purchase for $1,800 and have determined the cost of conversion to be right around $2,000 (it’s hard to be exact here, different vehicles require different parts). If you believe in the work that we do (which requires us to be mobile) and you are in a position to donate, please do, it will allow us to continue to play our part in the fight against Ohio fracking. Thank you!
DONATE HERE

Madeline says NO to fracking injection

As reported on EcoWatch.org this morning, Athens, OH resident Madeline ffitch chained her body to cement filled barrels to prevent the injection of highly toxic wastewater entering her community.  While government agencies like the Ohio Department of Natural Resources continue to refuse to test what chemicals are in this brine, Madeline’s actions are part of a growing movement of people taking direct action to protect their communities and assert their rights to safe clean water.  You can contact organizers in Athens at  740 856 9388, testfrackwaste@gmail.com 

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Join Us for the July Action Camp!

On June 17th hundreds of Ohioans took over the statehouse to pledge resistance against the gas industry and pass legislation banning hydrofracking, sending a clear message to our state government that Ohioans demand protection from the dangers of fracking.  But our politicians and regulators have been bought, and if we want the legislation we passed to have any impact for our communities and our land we will have to enforce it with our bodies, with our courage, and with our actions.

SIGN-UP :: INFO ON WORKSHOPS :: SCHEDULE :: DONATE

In this spirit, Ohio Fracktion is hosting another anti-fracking action camp during the second weekend (13th-15th) of July at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Youngstown.  Like the action camp held in April, we hope this event will further coalition building for people organizing against fracking across Ohio, equip fracking impacted residents with the tools needed to bring nonviolent direct action into local struggles against fracking,  and help bridge the gap between Ohio fracktivists and our friends in Michigan and Pennsylvania.  There will be workshops on a broad variety of topics geared towards widening and deepening our understanding of the industry and ways to protect our communities from it.  You can register online here(please register by July 4th for guaranteed housing).

Action Alert: Sermon at Well Construction Site in Coitsville

Join us in Coitsville, OH this Sunday at 6:30 P.M. in solidarity with residents from Coitsville and beyond who have already seen the destructive impacts of fracking to say NO to more frack wells, poisoned water, and contaminated air.  Following last month’s injection well sermon led by Reverend Monica Beasley-Martin, residents will again join together in prayer outside the construction site for a vertical frack well slated to be drilled soon in Coitsville.   People of all faiths (or no faith) are encouraged to attend.  Continue reading