Take Action!

2015 Ohio Sierra Club Retreat

Mohican-winterWe hope you can join the Sierra Club for our annual Chapter Retreat. As one of the largest and most influential environmental organizations in the state, this is the time each year where we celebrate our victories, renew our spirits, and make our plans the year ahead. All are welcome, and meals will be provided for members who register.

Join us at Mohican State Park Lodge for the Annual Chapter Retreat on Jan 31st- Feb 1st!

Read More

Stop Toxins from Algae in Drinking Water

algaegif (1)

Click here to submit public comments to Ohio EPA by November 19.

1.) Insist algae toxin standards be created for Ohio drinking water supplies

2.) Request mandatory testing to occur at community water systems

 

 

Don’t Let Ohio Coal Get A Bailout

sammis17cut-02

Carbon pollution rolls from Sammis Coal-fired Power Plant. Utilities are asking PUCO to approve passing costs for outdated plants like Sammis onto customers. credit: Akron Beacon Journal

In June 2014, Governor Kasich signed into law a bill that guts Ohio’s clean energy and efficiency standards. Passing this new law was not enough for Ohio’s utilities, though. 

Now, Ohio’s largest electric utilities, AEP, Duke, and FirstEnergy are seeking to keep a number of Ohio’s oldest and dirtiest power plants open for years to come.

And they want you and me to pay for it.

Take Action ->

Press art 4_Ohio coal plant bailouts


Read More

Gas and Oil Fracking

The Ohio Chapter Gas and Oil Fracking Committee is comprised of a core team of Sierra Club members from across the state working in cooperation with partner organizations to protect Ohio’s air and water from the impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing Drilling “Fracking”. We empowers citizens to protect their communities locally while supporting a statewide moratorium until fracking’s impacts are studied and until we believe that safe and effective regulation will prevent unacceptable harm to wildlife, human health, water, air, and property values.

 

Gas and Oil Fracking - Latest News

hardrock

Fracking waste tanks at Hardrock excavating were implicated in confessions by employees that they were being ordered to be emptied into the Mahoning River by Ben Lupo, who has denied the allegations. Image: Cleveland.com

The Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court today against the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for failing to comply with Ohio’s public records law. Six months after ODNR acknowledged receipt of the Sierra Club’s request for documents related to ODNR’s investigation into the illegal dumping of fracking waste,ODNR has yet to provide the Sierra Club with the requested public documents.

Read More

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has permitted the 847th fracking well in Ohio. Out of the 847 wells, 125 are currently producing. Search the map below to find a well near you!

View Ohio Fracking Map in a full screen map

 

 

BY MARILOU JOHANEK

BLADE COLUMNIST

Go anywhere in Ohio to see what Mother Nature has wrought in gorgeous vistas, rolling hills, prairies, a Great Lake, abundant rivers, reservoirs, inviting trails, and camping respites. Enjoy it while you can.

A looming danger threatens the natural bounty: fracking for natural gas and oil in the eastern part of the state. Consider this your wake-up call.

The race is on to make big money in Marcellus Shale-rich Ohio. The state hung out a welcome sign for oil and gas drillers eager to make a fortune on deposits under Ohio.

Republican lawmakers who run the Statehouse are adamant about accommodating industry interests. No onerous regulations or taxes should burden oil and gas operations.

The GOP embraced shale drilling as Ohio’s economic salvation. Ohioans were promised infinite job creation from the untapped mineral wealth in their backyard.

But while we wait for the unemployment cure, courtesy of energy conglomerates, an ominous cloud drifts over the state. It floats beyond the five-county area invaded by fracking crews in eastern Ohio.

It’s a warning of what may come to the landscape we love. The hydraulic fracturing process, or “fracking,” also produces millions of barrels of polluted waste.

Millions of gallons of chemically treated water and sand are fired into deep shale formations to free trapped natural gas. The high-pressure fracturing subsequently creates millions of gallons of salty, briny waste more toxic than what was shot down the hole.

Some of the brine-water mix that bubbles up with the gas is contaminated with metals and radioactive materials. Occasionally, the wastewater is reused in other fracking operations.

But most is injected back underground in deep disposal wells. Because wastewater injection wells only dispose of the tainted fluids used in fracking, they can be placed anywhere — even miles from a drilling site. That’s a problem if you live in Ohio.

“Injection wells are kind of a net negative for Ohio,” said Jed Thorp, conservation program manager of the Sierra Club’s Ohio chapter. “We can think of no real positive to having waste injected into the ground all over the state.”

But it’s happening. The state is becoming a regional dumping ground for spent fracking fluids that nobody else wants. Along with trucks and equipment and drills rumbling into Ohio is a flow of imported fracking waste that threatens to turn into a flood.

Nearly 60 percent of shale-well waste injected into Ohio disposal wells last year — 8.16 million barrels — came from other states, such as Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York. From 2011 to 2012, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, out-of-state wastes injected in Ohio increased by 19 percent.

More fracking waste that comes into the state means more disposal wells to be drilled. Ohio has 191 disposal wells now, up from 177 wells in January, 2012. Expect others to come to prime real estate near you.

“There are a couple of reasons why Ohio is an attractive place to bring this stuff,” Mr. Thorp told me. “Ohio happens to have a geology that lends itself favorably to the drilling of these injection wells, and it’s just cheaper to bring it [fracking waste] here,” he said.

By law, the state can’t make it more expensive for out-of-state waste without doing the same for similar waste generated in-state. That means there’s no political option in pro-drilling Ohio.

So neighboring states increasingly cart their fracking waste here. Solid radioactive material is routed to landfills here — like the ordinary waste it isn’t — and toxic wastewater is injected deep in the Earth, in a process the gas and oil industry says is environmentally safe.

Critics cite examples of injection wells around the country where concrete casings didn’t stop cracks from occurring or leakage from migrating into aquifers.

“It’s not worth rolling the dice on punching holes in the ground all over the state, drilling down through drinking water sources, and injecting chemicals that the industry itself acknowledges are radioactive,” Mr. Thorp said. “It’s stuff that’s too toxic to send even to a wastewater treatment plant.”

Ohioans who reap no real economic benefit from the shale and gas drilling may soon find themselves hosting waste injection wells with unknown poisons protected by trade-secret rules.

Is this a risk to our natural treasure we are willing to incur?

Marilou Johanek is a columnist for The Blade. Contact her at:mjohanek@theblade.com

Muskingum River Plant

Muskingum River Plant, Waterford (Photo: Google Maps)
July 16, 2013
On the heels of President Obama’s climate action speech, coal-fired power plants will soon be retired, mitigating what’s been a persistent risk to human health and the environment. But there’s still one problem. Many utilities suppliers are moving toward natural gas, another dirty fossil fuel. During his speech, President Obama noted that he believes that transitioning to natural gas is a move toward clean energy, a statement that the Sierra Club’s Beyond Natural Gas campaign believes is false. Instead of using natural gas, it is essential to move beyond this resource and switch to renewable energy such as wind and solar to truly protect our climate and ensure that we keep our families healthy and our air and water clean and safe. Read More

Ohio’s Legislature Allowed the Oil & Gas Lobby to Dodge the “Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know” Law

A well site on a farm in Carroll County, Ohio.

 Columbus, OH:  In a letter received May 31, the U.S. EPA Office in Chicago confirmed the claims of Ohio environmental leaders that a state statute adopted in 2001 favoring the oil and gas industry violates federal laws designed to protect communities facing chemical emergencies.

Read More