In a first, the Trumbull County commissioners voted to ask Ohio Gov. John Kasich not to approve any new injection wells in their county.
That plan came under fire from the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a statewide trade group, and was hailed by Ohio grass-root activists.
The commissioners said they want 11 recommendations drafted by a committee of local officials be adopted before any more injection wells for liquid drilling wastes are approved.
Trumbull County wants mandated air-quality testing, improved groundwater monitoring around injection wells, new setbacks for injection wells, required landscaping plans and limiting operations from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. At present, state rules do not include hours of operation.
It also wants better public notice and expanded areas of impact, longer times for public comment, new traffic impact studies, road use management agreements with local townships, extended time for public comment and moving any appeals hearing out of Columbus to make it easier on local residents.
Asked if the commissioners were optimistic that Kasich would listen to the moratorium request, Commissioner Frank Fuda said, “We hope.”
The recommendations sought by Trumbull County are “not that demanding,” he said.
One missing recommendation is for a complete summary of exactly what materials are being injected, he said.
Other Ohio counties are expected to join Trumbull in its call for a moratorium.
Trumbull County has “a lot of concerns” over injection wells, Fuda said. “We’re tired of talk and we wanted to move forward to make things happen,” he said.
That concerns in Trumbull County include a spill last spring at five injection wells operated by Warren-based Kleese Development Associates in Vienna Township. There were earthquakes reports last fall from two injection wells operated by American Water Management Service north of Niles in Weathersfield Township.
Those wells were shut down, at least for a time, by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. It oversees all wells and drilling in Ohio.
Trumbull County with 19 injection wells has more than any other Ohio county. Ohio has 202 operating injection wells.
Trumbull County was third among Ohio counties in 2014 with 2.3 million barrels of waste being injected into underground rock formations for disposal.
Locally, Portage County was fourth and Stark County was 10th for 2014 disposal totals.
The concern over the injection wells has been building and the committee has been working on recommendations for the last two months, Fuda said. The commissioners have received numerous complaints, he said.
His county has been in active discussions with other county commissioners across eastern Ohio, but it is the first to take action, he said.
Local communities don’t benefit from injection wells, Fuda said. The only ones to benefit are the well owners and the state that gets paid fees on the injected waste.
Much of the wastes coming into Trumbull County is from Pennsylvania, he said.
It has few injection wells and Ohio cannot block such shipments because they are interstate trade protected by the U.S. Constitution.
The Trumbull requests are not really necessary, said Shawn Bennett, executive director of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.
“Ohio’s robust regulatory structure on Class II underground injection wells meets and exceeds federal standards. While the OOGA appreciates the commissioners’ concerns, we do not feel that a moratorium on issuing class II permits is warranted or any additional regulatory requirements are needed,” he said in a statement.
Activists are “thrilled” that Trumbull County has taken the initiative and sought a moratorium, said Mary Greer of Shalersville Township in Portage County. Ohioans are worried that injection wells will pollute drinking water because they feel the state rules are insufficient and the volume of wastes being injected keeps growing, she said.
EDITOR’s NOTE: Portage County Commissioners are also expected to ask for a moratorium on injection wells.
Replicated only for posterity. All credit goes to Ohio.com and Bob Downing. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Original article found @http://www.ohio.com/blogs/drilling/ohio-utica-shale-1.291290/trumbull-county-asks-ohio-to-approve-injection-moratorium-1.602999?cache=18961415304345%25252525252525252525252Fnews%25252525252525252525252Fohio%2525252525252525