11:00 AM, Monday, November 19th, 2012
A group of Athens County residents wearing hazmat style suits and respirators gathered in front of the Hazel Ginsburg Well frack-waste injection well on Ladd Ridge Road. They demanded that the ODNR shut the well down. The protesters held banners that read “Shut it Down, No New Permits”, “ODNR, You Have the Facts, Shut this Toxic Well Down” “Our Safety is Not for Sale”, and “Clean Drinking Water is a Human Right”. Many of the signs were emblazoned with the symbol for radioactivity. The protest was also in solidarity with those who today are blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline in Texas.
When police arrived and asked protesters to disperse, they did so. There were no arrests.
This action follows the action camp hosted by Appalachia Resist! which served as a training for an ever widening group of community members, including farmers, landowners, and families who want to join the resistance to injection wells and the fracking industry in Southeast Ohio.
Athens County residents have been calling for the Ginsburg Well to be shut down for nearly a year, ever since the ODNR’s own records surfaced, which showed that the well has been in nearly continuous violation since the 1980’s, with the ODNR never enforcing their own numerous “plug and abandon” orders. This has become of particular concern now that Ohio accepts out-of-state fracking waste by the millions of gallons. This fall the USGS showed that this waste has radioactivity levels 300 times higher than the federal legal limit for industrial waste. Teresa Mills of the Buckeye Forest Council has called the Ginsburg Well “the worst well in the state of Ohio” in terms of violations.
This week, the ODNR granted permits for 4 new injection wells, 3 of them in SE Ohio. Why should they grant new permits, when they cannot regulate the wells already in operation?
The ODNR is continuing to ignore requests for public hearings on injection well permits, even though 100 citizens have written letters requesting such hearings. The ODNR even ignores the County Commmissioners. This is outside the bounds of professional ethics.
The ODNR continues to try to dismiss residents’ concerns, saying that there has been no evidence of water contamination. We say that the ODNR does not test creek, well, spring water or drinking water around injection well sites. The ODNR has stated that they see no need to test water until contamination has already occurred. We say that the ODNR is not an emergency response agency. Its job is not to swoop in after a disaster has occurred, but to protect Ohioans and prevent such disasters from occurring in the first place.
When it comes to injection wells, Ohioans have nothing to gain and everything to lose. The risk is high, the benefits are zero. Injection wells pose tremendous risk to our health, safety, and livelihoods.This is yet another way that extractive industries exploit rural communities.
With this action, Appalachia Resist! sends the message to the oil and gas industry that our region will not be an easy target for toxic dumping. We send the message to the ODNR that they cannot simply dismiss residents’ concerns.
The oil and gas industry and its captured agency, the ODNR can expect more direct action, and increased resistance from Appalachian Ohioans. We will do what it takes to keep our community safe.
SHUT DOWN THE GINSBURG WELL
NO NEW PERMITS