UPDATE: Eight Blockaders Arrested, Charged with Trespassing
Eight farmers and local business leaders blocked the driveway leading to a fracking waste disposal site operated by K&H Partners of West Virginia. The eight held a banner reading “Our Water, Our Lives! Their Poison, Their Lies!” and forced at least two trucks carrying toxic frack waste to divert during the two hour rally. The blockade was supported by more than 150 Torch, Coolville, and Athens residents.
All eight were arrested by the Athens County Sheriff’s Office and charged with trespassing. Observers described the arrests as calm and dignified. Lieutenant Kline at ACSO has told AR that arrestees should be released tonight with summons to appear in court Monday 3 Feb 2014.
Eight Farmers and Residents Block K&H Driveway for Local Control Over Injection Wells
Eight farmers and local business leaders have blocked the driveway leading to a fracking waste disposal site operated by K&H Partners of West Virginia. Holding a banner that reads “Our Water, Our Lives! Their Poison, Their Lies!” these Athens County residents are stopping frack waste trucks from entering the site and will refuse law enforcement orders to leave. They want K&H and the ODNR revoke a recent injection well permit and are calling for a ban on injection wells in Ohio and in Athens County specifically.
The blockade is supported by a rally of more than 150 Torch, Coolville, and Athens residents.
Currently the Troy Township site contains a single Class II injection well and associated waste tanks owned and operated by K&H; the current well injects an average of 2,098 barrels of toxic frack waste per day. The permit being appealed would allow the drilling of a second well on the same property; which would receive an additional 4,000 barrels per day. The two wells are located 1.7 miles from the Hocking, 2.2 miles from the Ohio River, and 2.2 miles from Coolville Elementary School. 53% of this waste will come from other states with stronger regulations than Ohio.
The permit is under appeal by the Athens County Fracking Action Network, following a unanimous vote in December by the Athens City Council and the Athens County Commissioners to oppose the permitting of the second well.
“I have done everything a citizen is supposed to do to implore elected leaders to protect my community” explained Christine Hughes, owner of the Village Bakery and several other businesses, “I cannot stand by while farmers are forced to accept toxic drilling waste and destruction of their property and property values.”
Michelle Ajamian, owner of a local grain mill, concurred: “I have lived in rural Athens County since 1976. Both my children were born, schooled, and raised here. I’m willing to face arrest now to prevent the permanent contamination of our water in the future. I worry about what just happened in West Virginia, happening here.”
“I’ve spoken against fracking and injection wells with my mouth, pen, phone, and keyboard, only to receive no response from Ohio’s legislators. It’s now my conviction that it’s time for me to speak with my very body,” said local pastor M. Smiles Welch of Athens.
“Our very way of life is being threatened by unsafe, short sighted practices.” said mill employee and father Sean Pavlac. “Our water sources are in danger of being contaminated by hazardous and in many cases, radioactive waste.”
“I’m 43 and have lived in Athens since 1993. I raised my two children here. We ALL need clean water, air and land.” said Liz Florentine, Village Bakery employee.
Rally organizers include members of Appalachia Resist and the Athens County Fracking Action Network. Further information, including an in-depth timeline of the legal battle over the K&H 2 well, can be found at http://www.acfan.org