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Tell Ohio Decision Makers to Stop Guzzling Gas!

Just because gas prices have dropped doesn’t mean Ohio should build more highways. Recently, 700 Sierra Club members commented on the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) 2014 Statewide Transit Needs Study. Now we have the opportunity to weigh in on the specific projects that ODOT will fund in 2015-2018.

Speak up for Bike, Bus, and Pedestrian funding!

2015 Ohio Sierra Club Retreat is just a few weeks away!

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!

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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

 

 

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

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.

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The fracking industry has a problem – it generates toxic, radioactive waste in the forms of mud from drilling, and liquid from the chemical cocktails used to get fossil fuels from deep underground – and they don’t know where to put it.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 10, 2013

Contact: Jed Thorp, jed.thorp@sierraclub.org(614) 461-0734 x 303

Sierra Club Statement on Cancellation of Eastlake Natural Gas Project

The Eastlake power plant, scheduled to close its coal fired units by 2015, will no longer retrofit the plant with natural gas. Image source: cleveland.com

COLUMBUS – Today Jed Thorp of the Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club released the following statement after FirstEnergy and American Municipal Power scrapped plans for a natural gas project in Eastlake:

“This is yet another sign to Ohioans that there are better alternatives to fossil fuels.  A 21st century energy economy means looking at ways to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and lower energy prices, rather than forcing customers to become reliant on new forms of dangerous extraction, like fracking for natural gas. We strongly encourage utilities to instead meet demand with increased energy efficiency, which is cheaper for customers and better for the environment than natural gas.”

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio recently ruled that FirstEnergy must bid their energy efficiency programs into this year’s electricity auction.  Bidding for energy efficiency alongside other forms of energy is expected to lower prices. In their ongoing efforts to repeal Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency benchmarks, FirstEnergy has used the potential for shale gas development in Ohio as an excuse to abandon the standards, but today’s announcement contributes to a growing body of evidence showing that energy efficiency continues to be the less expensive option.

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