Below is a letter I wrote to James Zehringer, director of ODNR and resident of Mercer County, known in Darke and Mercer counties as the ‘hero’ who helped stop CO2 injection in Greenville.
Dear Mr. Zehringer,
You are getting many letters of concern from Athens Countians distressed about likely permitting of the K&H2 injection well. I write to tell you that many of those who are using extremely strong language are ordinarily very calm and civil. Many are community leaders, some in their 60s and 70s, who live mainstream, established lives. The reason for their emotion is because they know the science and know that the harm your permitting will inflict on our community is potentially devastating and unfathomable.
We have a lovely community here, as I gather you did in Darke County when you experienced the threat of CO2 injection, clearly much less toxic than radioactive frack waste with its high levels of benzene, toluene, xylene, and other carcinogens, neurotoxins, and endocrine disruptors, many biologically active at extremely low doses.
Your inadequate responses [see acfan.org] to our formal objections to the K&H2 application admit to leakage from injection wells. The unmapped faults being discovered since injection has increased, occurrence of quakes in counties like Pike that never experienced them before and recent quakes in Washington and Athens counties all highlight the extremely dire situation. We now live in a seismically active region.
4000 barrels daily through K&H2 plus 1500 at K&H1 mean yearly dumping of toxic waste to fill a football-field-sized pool 140 feet deep. EVERY YEAR. You cannot claim that this volume can be pushed into our earth (especially at a psi as low as 460) without potentially moving somewhere you can’t predict. There is no aquifer or seismic mapping of the region. Cement and steel corrode and fail. You are treating our region like a toxic waste dump. It is not. It is our home. Have you been to SE Ohio? Please come and see what is at stake.
You are entrusted with protection of Ohioans and of our natural resources, including water. You are obligated to protect drinking water resources by state and federal law. Period. Forever. Your most essential duty as a public servant is to abide by this supreme legal mandate.
I would like to understand, Mr. Zehringer, how it was not okay for Battelle to inject CO2 into your county but how you consider it appropriate to flood our county with hundreds of millions of gallons a year of toxic, radioactive frack waste.
People writing to you have likened ODNR permitting to terrorism. I understand their outrage. Please act morally and obey the supreme law governing your job and requiring you to protect our drinking water. Your permit standards and the K&H2 application certainly do not.
Athens County Fracking Action Network, acfan.org