A Dozen Athenians Among Hundreds At Warren OH Interfaith Prayer Service, Praying for an End to Radioactive Oil And Gas Waste Dumping in Ohio
Warren, Ohio – A coalition of local, statewide and national groups concerned about toxic waste from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, converged on Portage and Trumbull counties Monday for “Don’t Frack Ohio 2.” A rally was held in Warren’s Courthouse Square, followed by an interdenominational service at a nearby injection well site, both calling for an end to Ohio being the regional dumping ground for deep-earth oil and gas waste. The rally drew 250 participants from around Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and West Virginia to an area heavily targeted by the industry for these underground industrial waste pits. Despite citizen complaints, last week Ohio Department of Natural Resources approved eleven new sites for underground injection – eight of them in Portage County. Trumbull and Morrow Counties will also receive three new wells. A permit application for a new Athens County well was also listed by ODNR last week.
Rabbi Josh Jacobs-Velde and Father John Rausch led attendees in the interfaith service at the Raymond-Pander injection well site, preventing access to the site. Father Rausch said, “I have come to pray because God’s creation is in jeopardy.” The attendees sang hymns, ritually blew a shofar, and symbolically left flowers at the site before peacefully departing as planned.
Fracking, a term used to describe the deep-earth oil and gas drilling and extraction process, produces large amounts of liquid and solid waste, including the undisclosed chemicals used during the process and radioactivity from the deep shale materials brought to the surface. Teresa Mills, Buckeye Forest Council Fracking Coordinator, told the crowd at the rally that in the last 34 years, the oil and gas industry has injected 7,892,815,182 gallons of toxic waste into Ohio land, with over half a billion gallons in 2012 alone. That is more than a gallon for every man, woman, and child on earth. Over half of the waste injected last year came from out-of-state fracking operations. Frack waste is also sent to municipal landfills and the Warren water treatment plant as well as spread on roadways and, until this year, on the Morrow County fairground. Operators have even been caught illegally dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of waste into streams, some over many months, as the Ben Lupo case revealed.
Oil and gas waste is not buried in hazardous waste wells due to federal exemptions for the industry from hazardous waste designation. The waste has been documented by ODNR and scientific researchers as consisting of highly toxic chemicals, including benzene and arsenic, and highly radioactive.