Ohio Halts Fracking Wastewater Reinjection Amid Quake Concerns
The Washington Times and Yahoo.com reported that Governor John Kasich’s (R-OH) Administration ordered a temporary halt of reinjection of hydraulic fracturing wastewater at five sites after a 4.0 magnitude earthquake shook Youngstown on New Year’s Eve.
According to state officials, Ohio has experienced 11 earthquakes since March, (most of which were around 2.7 in magnitude) in a state not known for significant seismic activity. State officials lay the blame for these earthquakes on the reinjection of wastewater into deep injection wells after hydraulic fracturing operations were completed and not on the fracturing process itself.
The U.S. Geological Service provided measured support for this important distinction as Senior Science Advisor for Earthquakes and Geologic Hazards, William Leith told The Washington Times, “The fracking itself probably does not put enough energy into the ground to trigger an earthquake…That’s really not something that we should be concerned about.”
Rob Nichols, Governor Kasich’s spokesman, was quick to point out that an investigation into the causes of the earthquakes was still underway and that, “There’s plenty of data out there that suggests this is not a recurring problem.” Nichols also praised the economic boon presented by shale gas drilling and dismissed the idea that these incidents would put an end drilling in the State of Ohio.
However, Nichols did concede that all options for dealing with the issue were still on the table including a prohibition on wastewater reinjection wells near fault lines. A preliminary announcement of Governor Kasich’s plans could be announced on Wednesday, January 4.
Regardless of the outcome, it is important for APGA members to note that this issue is being treated as substantive and serious by a pro-drilling, republican governor. This temporary ban is not being put into place at the behest of drilling opponents or environmental radicals, but rather because the wastewater reinjection issue appears to have serious effects on seismic activity.
If APGA members have any questions, please contact Scott Morrison by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at email@example.com.