Nate Ebert, who, on February 19th climbed a 30 foot pole anchored to a frack waste truck and shut down GreenHunter Water’s frack waste transfer facility in New Matamoras, Ohio for most of a business day, took a plea deal this morning in the Marietta Municipal Court in Marietta, OH. He pled to charges of trespassing and resisting arrest. He received a suspended sentence and will serve no jail time.
Upon leaving the courthouse, Ebert, 33, who lives in Athens County, Ohio, said, “Green Hunter is making millions of dollars from storing and dumping toxic radioactive waste in Ohio. For the sake of profit that is channeled out of state, they are threatening the health and safety of our communities up and down the Ohio River. The state of Ohio should make it a priority to block Green Hunter’s unscrupulous activities, and protect Ohio residents instead of protecting industry.” He called for a ban of injection wells in the state of Ohio. If passed, House Bill 148, recently proposed by Representatives Denise Driehaus and Bob Hagan, and backed by more than 40 Ohio community groups, would ban injection wells statewide.
On February 19th, Ohio residents and allies from numerous environmental groups including Earth First! disrupted operations at Green Hunter Water’s frack-waste storage site along the Ohio River in Washington County. Ebert, a member of Appalachia Resist!, ascended a 30 foot pole anchored to a brine truck in the process of unloading frack waste, preventing all trucks carrying frack waste from entering the site.
Over one hundred supporters gathered at the facility, protesting Greenhunter’s plans to increase capacity for toxic frack waste dumping in Ohio. Greenhunter has sought approval from the Coast Guard to ship frack waste across the Ohio River via barge at a rate of up to half a million gallons per load. The Ohio River is a drinking source for more than 5 million people. Test results from multiple frack waste samples reveal high levels of benzene, toluene, arsenic, barium, and radium, among other carcinogenic and radioactive chemicals.
While at the top of the pole, Ebert said, “We are here to send a message that the people of Ohio and Appalachia will not sit idly by and watch our homes be turned into a sacrifice zone!”
Ten people were arrested at the February 19th demonstration. Nine of them took plea deals. The tenth arrestee was a member of the media. Last week, all charges against that individual were dropped.
Since the February 19th protest, Green Hunter has announced its intentions to open numerous frack waste storage and transfer facilities up and down the Ohio River, including a newly proposed site in Wheeling, West Virginia. The Wheeling proposal is the target of emphatic opposition from many Wheeling residents, who gathered at a May 22nd public meeting to let Green Hunter CEO John Jack know that they distrust Green Hunter’s motives and methods, citing worries about radioactive waste. Despite USGS reports of dangerous radioactivity levels in frack waste, Jack refused to answer any questions about radioactivity.