Don’t blame quakes on fracking
Underground Injection wells have been used since the 1930s to dispose of many types of liquid wastes, primarily oil field brine (salt water produced with oil and gas) into different geologic formations. In 1974, Congress passed Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), giving the EPA the authority to control underground injection. The EPA administers the UIC program, and delegates regulatory authority to the state of Ohio. The state of Ohio via ODNR issues permits for these wells, but the standards in place for construction, maintenance, and continuous monitoring are set by the EPA.
There are approximately 144,000 injections wells operating in the United States, with an average of 2 billion gallons a day associated with oil and gas development. The state of Ohio is home to approximately 186 of these injection wells; however, the number will increase drastically with the development of the Utica Shale. House Bill 501, a bipartisan bill passed in 1985 was signed into law by a Democratic governor (Celeste) established the use of injection wells as a safe disposal means for produced water. The oil and gas industry is not the only industry using injection wells.
People need to understand that the incident in Youngstown is not related to hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing has been used in the oil and gas industry for over 60 years. The Utica Shale is too deep, too hard, and too expensive to access were it not for hydraulic fracturing.
Currently Ohio’s oil and gas industry supports a total of 14,400 Ohio jobs. The Utica Shale is projected to bring a minimum of 3,000 more jobs in the next 3 to 5 years. Landowners, schools, businesses and communities will benefit from this potential energy source and it will significantly boost local economies. America’s dependence on energy should not be dependent on foreign countries.
Ohioans should be very thankful that we have been blessed with this opportunity and not let one incident condemn the potential benefits we may enjoy.
Ben Funderburg, Salem