I used to love ODNR

There’s been another earthquake update from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources:

The agency cannot pinpoint the cause of the earthquakes on Mother Nature.

Yes, Mother Nature seemingly has an impact on every other natural weather phenomenon in the world, from tsunamis to tornadoes to avalanches.

But in the case of the Youngstown earthquakes, there is no evidence that Mother Nature had a role in the earthquakes.

Until more-accurate measurements can be made, please refrain from assigning blame to Mother Nature.

Thank you,


Dear ODNR:

You lost me.

I lived for many years in Sandusky and enjoyed the many benefits of Lake Erie — the water, the islands and the wild life (including that life which is wild at the Beer Barrel on Put-in-Bay.)

I recall walleye fishing on Lake Erie near Lorain on a placid summer evening with an orange sunset streaming from Toledo way. My thinking at that moment was there cannot be a more beautiful place in Ohio or America.

Thus, I became a fan of ODNR.

(PS: I gave you unofficial credit for the Beer Barrel wild life.)

The New Year’s Eve magnitude-4.0 earthquake shook many things — and mainly, it was my confidence in ODNR.

I think I’m joined by many in the Valley.

And what you’ve done since then, particularly this week, has done little to right the wrong that you’ve done in managing our lives.

When earthquake No. 12 struck last week but was announced this week, you announced you had expanded the no-drill zone around us to seven miles. Five miles was great just two weeks earlier.

Your boss, the governor, this week came out and emphatically said “no more wells below 8,000 feet.” I thought that was great because our well — which, I know, has not been proved to be the cause of the 12 earthquakes that ALL happened to be centered around it — is more than 9,000 feet deep.

Then came word after that, that it’s not necessarily 8,000 feet, but to the Precambrian “basement” rock of our Earth — which may or may not be at 8,000 feet depending on where you are in Ohio.

Then, on Wednesday, you announced that there will be no more new injection wells at all — 8,000 feet, or Precambrian or whatever — until a report comes out in February.

What are you guys doing?

This past week is consistent with the fumbling visited upon us in the past year when you sat idly as nine earthquakes rolled underneath us.

One of your mates, Rob Nichols from the governor’s office, after quake No. 11, even had the gall to shimmy a bit, that “well — the wells were approved under the Strickland administration.”

Certainly, it was about oversight then with Strickland’s group. But they also did not have the benefit of nine earthquakes to react to.

Your lack of reaction to the evidence was atrocious.

Now granted, I did not expect intervention after quakes No. 1 and No. 2 (same day, 2.1 and 2.6), quake No. 3 (2.2) or possibly even before quake No. 4 (2.4). But after quake No. 4, you were derelict in your duties to sit idle.

And now that it has all come out, you left yourself exposed to this criticism:

You sat ... because ... of money.

Because the well injects both water into our ground and money into your administration, you did not want to interfere.

That theory is even more plausible when you consider what your cousins are doing at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

While Nichols was quick to throw Strickland under the bus for our earthquake injection well (ahem, “alleged” earthquake well), the AG’s team did not hesitate to get in the way of another Strickland approval — Patriot Water Treatment.

So you got in the way of one Strickland decision but not in the way of another.

The distinction? Here it is:

Injection wells generate money for the state. In fact, wells generated $1 million from January to September of last year. Patriot did not — and possibly even took away business from the wells.

How’s that taste now?

So now you’re seeking new standards on the Warren sewage facility, where Patriot water ends up, that are unheard of anywhere else in the state.

Please go back to worrying about Lake Erie.

Ohio, years ago, took oversight of this drilling industry away from the federal government.

Give it back. Now.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him attfranko@vindy.com. He blogs,too, on vindy.com.

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