UPDATE II (2/21/12, 8:00 A.M.):
We know a group of protestors disrupted the Governor’s State of the State address last week, but we didn’t know much about those protestors until today. Via The Dispatch, below is footage of one of the protestors who was removed for disrupting the address. This activist went to great lengths -and great volume – to disrupt the Governor’s speech, and provided an interesting perspective on natural resources recovery in Ohio. It’s unclear if this protestor was one of the attendees bussed to the event by State Representative Hagan, for his sake we hope there is no connection.
UPDATE (2/14/12, 4:00 p.m.) He’s back.
The Columbus Dispatch broke a story this week that Rep. Hagan actively sought to disrupt Governor Kasich’s State of the State Address. According to the Dispatch, Hagan provided transportation to 35 protestors to help them disrupt the Governor’s remarks. The Representative was also reportedly seen handing out tickets to local Occupy protestors so they could disrupt the event as well. All of this occurring as the Governor was highlighting the need for public officials to work together to ensure Ohio remains on an upward track in tackling the challenges that face residents throughout the Buckeye State.
As most know by now, on New Year’s Eve a 4.0 earthquake struck near Youngstown prompting Governor Kasich and ODNR to halt injections at Youngstown area UIC wells until more facts come to light. While investigations continue, the decision by Governor Kasich and ODNR was the right course of action and was fully supported by all stakeholders, including the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. However, Rep. Bob Hagan has used this unique event, to incorrectly disparage an industry that is already reviving Ohio’s Steel Industry and is providing thousands of good paying-jobs for Ohioans with up to 200,000 more expected over the next few years. After hearing the Representative say some statements out of touch with the facts on the ground in Ohio we wanted to take a minute to correct the record and help provide some understanding to the situation at hand.
Rep. Hagan: “56% of the chemicals,the toxic chemicals that are being shipped from out of state are being shipped into our state. Why? That question has to be answered.” (Rep. Bob Hagan, January 11th, Covelli Centre, Youngstown)
- Ohio, like every other state, must accept produced water because of the Dormant Commerce clause, which is part of the Interstate Commerce Clause. The best example goes back to the ruling in Philadelphia vs. New Jersey When the Supreme Court ordered New Jersey to accept waste, liquid or solid, from other states. As a result, all states including Ohio, can’t block shipments of disposal products like produced water.
- Produced water is not hazardous waste as defined by the EPA. If the EPA determined the produced water to be hazardous it would be disposed of in Class I injection wells.
- It’s also worth mentioning that in 1983 then Rep. Bob Hagan, Sr. led the effort to mandate Class II injection wells as the preferred method of oil and gas waste disposal in Ohio. This led to their preferred use, and phenomenal success rate in Ohio, as well as their status as the primary means of safely disposing of brine and other materials from oil and gas development activities.
Rep. Hagan: “The New York Times did a study here and that they found out, its not even being asked in Ohio, that there is radiation poisoning in these wells.” (Rep. Bob Hagan, January 11th, Covelli Centre, Youngstown, 0.18)
- A radiological survey report by the Co-Physics Corporation in New York recently concluded rock cuttings from the gas drilling operations, as sampled during this project, have radionuclide levels that do not pose any environmental health problems.
- The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recent Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement On The Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program revised on September 2011 states: that based upon currently available information it is anticipated that flowback water do not contain levels of NORM of significance
- The radioactive waste Rep. Hagan references is not as dangerous as he makes seem. NORM or Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material is surprisingly pervasive in every day life. It even occurs in our bodies in the form of radioactive potassium. You can find it in public drinking water, Brazil nuts, peanut butter or the air to name a few. On average, Americans receive a radiation dose of about 620 millirem each year. None of these levels are dangerous to human health
ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Chief Rick Simmers explains there are no health implications from disposing of fluid or cuttings from exploration in Ohio:
radioactive materials that can be associated with oil and gas or injection operations are sometimes referred to as NORM or Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material or TENORM Technically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material. These type of radioactive isotopes are literally in everything, including us.
The Ohio Department of Health is the agency that regulates NORM, TENORM and radioactive issues as a whole. The Ohio Department of Health has tested locations throughout the Utica Shale. They have looked at drill cuttings. They have looked at fluids and have found there are very low levels of NORM well within the established limits by the federal government and reflected in state law. Rick Simmers (January 11th, Covelli Centre, Youngstown)
Rep. Hagan: ”I want to know why it’s such a big secret that we can’t get information from the Governor. We can’t get information from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. We can’t get information from the Ohio EPA, the US EPA and the Ohio Geological Society. All of them are hiding. And why are they hiding. Because money is making them hide.” (Rally at the Ohio Statehouse January 10th, Columbus, 1:01 )
- No one is hiding. ODNR was in fact scheduled to appear in Youngstown the very next day to address concerns of the citizens of Mahoning County with Rep. Bob Hagan at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown.
- Chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Dave Hall has scheduled a hearing at Youngstown State University on January 16th regarding the topic of disposal wells and seismology.
- The House of Representatives, and ODNR, are both stepping up to address the situation and to accuse them of completely ignoring the situation is purely political on the Representatives part.
- ODNR is currently producing a study in regards to these seismic events. It would be irresponsible to rush this study until they have conclusive evidence for or against the disposal well operator. They have already shut down 5 disposal wells as a proactive approach until the study is complete.
Rep Hagan: “Under the Clean Water Act introduced and passed under the Bush Administration in 2005, it precluded any of the gas and oil industry people from being charged from being charged they pollute water or water table itself. So the Clean Water Act certainly was supposed to be something that protected all of our aquifers and our clean water for the protection of the people and our drinking water as well Mike. Second part is the mystery of what chemical they are mixing. 97-98% is water,1-2% is sand and the mystery of what those other chemicals are… “(Rep. Bob Hagan on Sound of Ideas, 3:17 of this link)
“That is the answer we don’t even know what those chemicals are. We have no idea.” (Rep. Bob Hagan, January 11th, Covelli Centre, Youngstown, 0.11)
- Nothing of this magnitude was precluded in the Clean Water Act. The use of injection wells is regulated under the Underground Injection Control program of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, passed by Congress in 1974. EPA administers the UIC program, and delegates regulatory authority over SDWA to the state of Ohio. The underground injection program is regulated under Section 1422 of the Safe Drinking Water Act where it has always been regulated.
- The main objective of the UIC program requires Class II wells to ensure the protection on underground sources of drinking water.
- Hydraulic fracturing solution is not an unknown mystery. For starters, 99.5% of it is water and sand. The remaining .5% is comprised of additives commonly found at home or under your sink, including guar gum – commonly used as a dairy thickener in yogurt and ice-cream.
- FracFocus.org is a great resource which provides an in depth analysis of hydraulic fracturing fluids being used on a well-pad by well-pad basis. You can use this resources to see the stimulation fluids producers are using to enhance production on a well-by-well basis. It’s so secretive it’s only a mouse click away.
Rep Hagan: “Remember this, remember it loud and clear: We never had an earthquake until John Kasich was elected governor.” (0:01)
- Ohio has always had a history of seismic events dating back to June 18, 1875. All of this activity has monitored, researched and documented by the Ohio Seismic Network.
- One would assume that he would remember the earthquake in Northeast Ohio on January 31, 1986. The earthquake registered 5.0 on the Richter scale and was felt throughout Ohio and neighboring states.
- There were over 25 earthquakes of 2.0 or greater during the Strickland Administration.
Given the importance of what is at stake it is critical that we have a discussion based on fact and science. This week, the residents of Youngstown will have another opportunity to hear about shale development and have their concerns addressed by experts studying the issue (be sure to follow Energy in Depth – Ohio for more coverage on Tuesday’s event). We hope concerned citizens will attend to hear these experts and will hopefully gain some perspective on the issue.