Local leaders lobby for more control over fracking brine disposal wells

Local News

Local leaders are still lobbying the state to have more control over fracking brine disposal wells. 

Hubbard township officials are bitterly opposed to a plan to bring a waste brine disposal well to the township. 

Brine from Pennsylvania operations would be transported to an area near 62 and route 80 for disposal. Pa. has concerns over geology and contamination from the brine. 

“The irony is Pennsylvania doesn’t allow them to put them in the ground because of that, but they will put it in the ground in Ohio. If it’s poisonous and toxic in Pa., it’s poisonous and toxic in Ohio,” Trustee Tom Jacobs said.

State law gives the Ohio Department of Natural Resources sole jurisdiction over the wells. 

“State law gives ODNR division of oil and gas sole and exclusive authority over all oil and gas operations throughout the state. So whether its an injection well or a producing well that all falls under our purview,” said Steve Irwin of ODNR.

The state does gather public opinion before permitting wells. But state Representative Glen Holmes says that’s not enough. 

“It’s very important. And they want the taxing structure, the regulations to stay similar throughout the state. But to do that without any local control is, not to embellish the situation, a social injustice,” Holmes said.

Holmes is currently lobbying his fellow lawmakers. He wants to see more regulation on where the wells can be located and more weight given to local opinion. Most of all, he wants to see fewer of the wells, there are dozens of them in his district. 

“I’d love to incentivize other technologies to deal with this fluid. It’s not ecologically friendly,” Holmes said.

According to Irwin, 

“No well for the injection of saltwater shall be drilled or converted nearer than one hundred feet to any inhabited private dwelling house; nearer than one hundred feet from any public building which may be used as a place of resort, assembly, education, entertainment, lodging, trade, manufacture, repair, storage, traffic, or occupancy by the public; nearer than fifty feet to the traveled part of any public street, road, or highway; nearer than fifty feet to a railroad track; nor nearer than one hundred feet to any well. The chief may grant a variance to this rule for good cause shown. This rule does not apply to a building or structure which is incidental to agricultural use of the land on which it is located, unless such building is used as a private dwelling house or in the business of retail trade.”

Holmes says he’s cautiously optimistic there will be progress on his proposals soon. 

Below you can see a map of the wells in different locations in the area.

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