Ohio already has tough laws for disclosing drilling chemicals

Ohio already has tough laws for disclosing drilling chemicals

There’s been a GREAT DEAL OF talk about the disclosure of chemicals used in oil and gas development, including in an article — “Ohio shale drillers must report toxic chemicals locally” — that was published Oct. 1.

The issue is being driven by activists who are falsely claiming that the industry is exempt from the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), which requires companies to disclose chemicals used on site, particularly to first responders. The anti- development crowd has goaded the U.S. EPA into taking up this unnecessary cause.

The truth is that there are already more efficient and effective disclosure methods available. In 2001, Ohio passed a law requiring that chemical information at the state level be filed only with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

In response, ODNR began listing chemical inventories for each well in the state on its website. While a state law can never supersede federal law, this online reporting requirement is an efficient way for first responders and others to access this information.

The Emergency Oil and Gas Well Locator database provides first responders quick and remote access to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), which contain a list of chemicals used by oil-and-gas-related companies. The database replaced the paper files emergency workers relied on for chemical information prior to 2001.

The federal law touted by environmentalists would require a return to “paper” disclosure, which would make it more difficult for first responders to know what chemical hazards they might encounter at a well site. Additionally, oil and gas producers also have MSDS for every well site and readily share those with first responders.

Ohio’s chemical disclosure measures work. ODNR is doing its part by maintaining those records and continuously improving the database to provide first responders the information needed to protect the health and safety of our communities.

Thomas E. Stewart, Granville

Stewart is executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.

Fracking foes losing the battle, so get ready to leave Valley soon

Creating jobs is a good thing, but Mahoning Valley residents need to realize that it comes at a high price. Fracking opponents are losing (and will eventually completely lose) the battle against the oil and gas industry. They are too powerful, and no help can be expected from our state and local governments.

The CEOs of these huge companies do not live around here. They have little concern for our families and our homes. They are here to extract profit from deep underground. Period.

After the earth has been sucked dry, they will pack up and move on.

Their “donations” to schools, charities and local governments are simply their way of cultivating a positive image in the public’s eye. Water will always be our most precious resource.

Once contaminated, it’s all over folks. Tanker trucks roll in every day from out of state, filled with cancer-causing waste-water from fracking.

You can either start planning to leave the area, or you can start stocking up on bottled water. And for all the things you use water for, you’re going to need a lot of it.

Nick Stratos, Youngstown

Use of depleted uranium makes fracking cheap but surely not safe

The Vindicator’s Jamison Cocklin’s article, “Fracking water pits planned: Regulators to allow waste storage in Ohio,” was printed in the Akron Beacon Journal on Oct. 11.

From this article, it seems that the hydraulic drilling companies operating in Ohio have been handicapped by laws that required them to store the used water from their drilling in covered steel tanks before disposal or reuse.

Of course any inconvenience to the frackers was not acceptable to our state’s Legislature, and as other states have permitted the use of open impoundment pits, some as large or larger than a football field, Ohio’s Legislature passed a law making it legal for that type of “storage” to be implemented here.

Hydraulic fracturing uses from 1 million to 8 million gallons of water in each well it creates. All of that water is treated with an unidentified soup of chemicals that the companies refuse to identify. Between 30 and 40 percent of the water actually returns to the surface, and that is what they will be storing in these open “pits.”

Hydraulic fracturing used to be an expensive way to obtain the oil and gas store in shale or other kinds of rock. One reason for the expense of the operation, and thus the infrequent use of the method, was the copper “caps” on the shaped charges, the explosive that actually fracture, create fissures in the solid rock. Two of the characteristics of the copper capped charges were the expense of the copper and the mere 300,000 atmospheres of pressure the explosions created.

Then a new cap was patented. The patent is held by Halliburton, and now all those companies are using it. What is the cap made of now? This cheap replacement that creates the pressure of 600,000 atmospheres and makes fracking profitable? It’s deplete uranium. Yes, the stuff that the nuclear power industry has such a hard time getting rid of because no one wants it in their backyard.

Depleted uranium. It’s been used in military weapons and has caused unbelievable damage to the military personnel who handled it, and the civilians who have come into contact with its waste.

But it’s cheap, so the drilling companies don’t care that it contaminates the wastewater, the air around the wells, and the product from the wells.

Where will this stop? What will be the price our grandchildren and all their descendants pay for this?

Janet Daily, Doylestown

Frack ban would hurt city, Valley

Although I do not live in Youngstown, the passage of this bogus anti-fracking charter amendment and its effects do not stop at the city-limit signs. It spills over into the entire area.

The people who support this ridiculous proposal evidently do not realize it’s not just Youngstown’s economy that will be affected. It is too bad that a handful of extremists are so shortsighted that they would stand in the way of an awesome economic comeback for the city and the area. Yes, they come with their graphs and charts and testimonials, but at the end of the day, all they have is hocus-pocus.

Ask yourself this: Is it not better to have a thousand people working in the gas industry making good money and supporting local economies, or a thousand people standing in line at soup kitchens and food pantries?

The voters of Youngstown, on Nov. 5, will decide which way Youngstown will go.

They can either go forward, for a great new beginning, or stand still and die as Detroit has. The choice is yours. I hope you make the right one; generations to come are counting on it.

Jim Eidel, Beaver Township