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Environment


Earthquakes force Ohio to shut down a fracking disposal well
State says it isn't sure the Youngstown quakes are linked to the disposal well, but it can't take a chance
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
In The Region:

Another earthquake in the Youngstown area has caused the state to  shut down a well that’s been taking in millions of gallons of fluid left over from the drilling process called “fracking.”

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced today that the Youngstown deep-injection well is suspending operations.

 The area has experienced a series of small earthquakes since the well started operating about nine months ago. The most recent, on Christmas Eve, was two miles down and within a mile of the injection site.

Natural Resources Director James Zehringer says no one can prove conclusively that the seismic activity is linked to the well, but he’s decided to be cautious.

In a statement, Zehringer says the state’s top priority is the public’s health and protection of natural resources, and he is not willing to gamble with safety.

The area had had no recorded earthquakes until Northstar Disposal Services of Youngstown started operating the well.

 After the tremors began, the state installed four seismometers to monitor the area.  

Ohio has nearly 200 similar wells operating around the state. They’re taking in hydraulic fracking fluid used in Ohio and other states to break open shale and release natural gas and oil. Fracking is expected to dramatically increase in Ohio in the next two years.

 

Listener Comments:

M 4.0, Youngstown-Akron urban area, Ohio
Saturday, December 31, 2011 03:05:01 PM at epicenter
Depth: 5.00 km (3.11 mi).

The fracking is occurring at less than 1.8 miles. The depth precludes any possibility of the fracturing fluids having anything to do with the quake. This is total scare mongering propaganda from the Orwellian Ministry of Truth.


Posted by: Corday dArmont (Vancouver, Washington) on January 1, 2012 11:01AM
"if I read this right this is an injection well that simply deposits used fracing fluids into the ground. This is not a fracing (yes, fracing e.g. fracturing)operation as incorrectly stated in the headline. The oil and gas industry has been using injection wells - EPA permitted and approved - in Appalachia since time began to redeposit fracing fluids. Incidentally, fracing is not a new technology, it's been utilized for years and years...I have sat on many fracing operation trailers many times in my tenure in the industry. Today the new technology of horizontal drilling and subsequent volumes of water utilized to frac stimulate the shale plays into production is being confused with fracing practices in general. I favor the environment but I'm aghast at how misinformed the population is on the nomenclature of drilling operations and the conclusions that are being made. I favor allowing the seismologists to investigate, educate and advise."


Posted by: Anonymous (Canton, OH) on January 1, 2012 11:01AM
See the documentary Gasland. It tells the whole truth about fracking. My cousin's well in Wellsboro PAbeen destroyed by hydro-fracking gas operations.


Posted by: Anonymous on January 1, 2012 11:01AM
Fracking probably isn't the cause of earthquakes, as that phenomenon occurs much deeper in the crust, but it surely has been responsible for poisoning drinking water, resulting in the ability to start fires in cold water taps. Fracking is diddling with the earth closely beneath us, and is a serious enough insult to the earth that it should be curtailed until it can be brought to a standard that takes into consideration all the natural resources that fracking is polluting.


Posted by: spelvin2002 (Klamath CA) on January 1, 2012 10:01AM
One thing to remember is that correlation does not equal causation.

As my Environmental Science Professor once said, "An increase in solar storms may correlate with an increase in the amount of chickens laying eggs, but that does not mean the sun is making chickens more fertile." Some things are mere coincidence.

There simply is no evidence showing fracking has caused an earthquake.


Posted by: Will (Ohio) on January 1, 2012 7:01AM
I've been hearing a lot of this lately. How could blasting apart rock far underground NOT cause tremors? It's a no-brainer. Here in Pa., we are fighting fracking, since it is contaminating wells, making water unusable; and the gas companies are destroying the local roads in the rural, tranquil areas of north central Pa. Governor Corbett seems to be in the pocket of the gas companies, however, and anti-fracking activists are having a hard time being heard. I hope it goes better for the folks in Ohio. Fracking is not a good thing.


Posted by: artemis133 (Hazleton, Pa) on January 1, 2012 2:01AM
i live less than a mile from one of those well. hopefully they get shut down for good all over the world. the earthquakes here are proof that fracking cause's earthquakes.


Posted by: Anonymous on January 1, 2012 1:01AM
Zehringer says the state’s top priority is the public’s health and protection of natural resources, and he is not willing to gamble with safety....

... yet he let this go on for nine months???


Posted by: Mac (NOLA, baby!) on December 31, 2011 8:12AM
The people of Ohio need to stop this. Check out some of the groups on the Gulf Coast.


Posted by: Fay (Alabama) on December 31, 2011 7:12AM
When Zehringer said he's not willing to gamble with safety (in return for $$$$$, $$$$$ and more $$$$$), did he say it with a straight face? Just wondering.


Posted by: Deb Debozy (Youngstown, OH) on December 31, 2011 5:12AM
How about u guys don't do that and be smart and leave it alone


Posted by: Anonymous on December 31, 2011 4:12AM
new York is fighting the invasion of franking in our state, and rightly so. I fear that Ohio will go the way
Texas has, and Pennsylvania, with contaminated drinking water, drying up of water tables due to leaks caused by Fracking, and now earthquakes??? I do believe we have gone too far in our quest for oil and gas...you can't spill clean energy like solar and wind. And the advancement of science is also making the components of solar collectors more green as well. Solar is the way out of this mess.


Posted by: Ilene Flannery Wells (Saugerties, NY) on December 31, 2011 4:12AM
Saturday Dec 31,2011 time 3:15 approximately.The whole started to shake for 10 seconds it was scary and frightening. I was concerned about my family i called to see if they were okay i hope this will be looked into.It was very scary and frightening thing to happen. Thanks


Posted by: Ronald Bartholoew (Struthers) on December 31, 2011 3:12AM
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