Environmental Issue

Waste from Ohio Fracking

As speaker Sarah Moore discussed in her talk on waste patterns, the classification and treatment of hazardous waste poses a number of problematic consequences. The lack of appropriate classification of hazardous waste materials creates loopholes in waste regulation for companies who create or encounter these materials. Many of us think of radioactive waste as being the product of nuclear plants or big chemical production companies, however, it can arise naturally from the earth as well.

frack·ing1 ˈfrakiNG/  noun
  1. the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc., so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.

    Ohio has been one of the leading states in the fracking industry. “According to the industry-funded Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, Ohio contains an estimated 20 trillion cubic feet of “untapped” natural gas with a value of over $100 billion. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimates that, in addition to natural gas and shale gas, 1.3 to 5.5 billion barrels of tight oil may be contained within Ohio, with a market value of up to $550 billion.[1]” wiki entry Ohio & Fracking

The process of extracting oil and natural gases from beneath Ohio shale reserves not only unearths gas, but naturally occurring radium and other hazardous deposits. The toxic sand, rocks, and soils pulled from beneath the shale are often disposed of in Ohio landfills instead of processed at radioactive waste plants as a way to save money. Here’s where the free market + democracy clash comes in: the wave of government sponsored privatization of Ohio’s natural gas resource exploits have allowed this mistreatment of waste to get out of hand. Not only are these wastes being disposed of in the wrong place, but the mere transportation of the materials overtly violates State of Ohio waste regulations. The waste trucks do not meet hazardous material transportation standards, exceed maximum capacities, and drive without the required $5mil per truck hazardous material insurance. Not only is the build up of these materials in our dump sites troublesome, but the lack of financial accountability for accidents and the exposure to all of the workers who work in the fracking and waste industries.

It leaves me wondering  — if the privatization of fracking is so great because it creates Ohio jobs and supports the in-state economy, then why is our health left out of consideration? Who does this really benefit?

If waste regulation falls under government responsibility, but, out of their solidarity with big business, they overlook overt and dangerous defiances of the laws which they are charged to uphold …. then who the hell is going to fix this?

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