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Stop issuing fracking permits

I am a life-long resident of Appalachia. I grew up in West Virginia and for twenty years I have lived in beautiful Marietta, enjoying the local parks and walking them. That love of nature has been threatened by the fracking industry. For the past few years, every time I travel Third Street, I have encountered more and more tanker trucks. That got me to start asking questions and doing research, which became very troubling.

As I am sure most of you know, all those trucks are carrying waste from the fracking industry, called brine. Fracking is “a process that injects liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc. so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas,” according to the Oxford Dictionary. What is most disturbing about this waste is that most is not only radioactive but also contains lead, arsenic, formaldehyde and mercury. Even though that’s only one percent of this in fracking waste, that’s one percent of, for example, the 1.9 million barrels of brine waste injected into waste wells in Washington County in 2011. Even more troubling, in 2019, Washington County had the second highest level of injection well activity in the state.

One dangerous effect is the threat brine poses to our drinking water. According to Consumer Reports (December 3, 2020), brine “can contaminate [water] supplies when waste spills from trucks or pipelines moving it or when waste leaks from unlined disposal pits.” In fact, there was a spill of brine waste just outside of Marietta in January of 2021 at a pipeline owned by Deep Rock Disposal.

Making matters even worse, the Ohio Legislature passed two bills which now allow for 333 times the radioactive brine waste recommended by health experts. Given this threat not only to our environment but to our health, it is imperative that we as residents of this county strongly urge the Ohio Department of Natural Resources at least to stop issuing permits in Washington County until injection wells are better monitored and until our drinking water can be guaranteed to be safe from these contaminants.

Margaret Meyer

Marietta

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