RE: Youngstown City Council fracking vote:
HOW QUICKLY SOME FORGOT THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO, FRACKING- RELATED 4.0 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE: LET’S REMEMBER, AND URGE DELAYING OF THE VOTE AND ARRANGING TELEVISED PUBLIC HEARINGS BEFORE YOUNGSTOWN CITY COUNCIL MAKES AN ERRONEOUS, MISGUIDED, RASH DECISION TO LEASE YOUNGSTOWN MINERAL RIGHTS TO GREENLIGHT FRACKING AND RELATED PROCESSES ON OCTOBER 3, 2012, THEREBY JEOPARDIZING THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY:
First of all, thank you and kudos to the Youngstown, Ohio, City Council members who listened to their constituents, heard their concerns and did the right thing.
On September 19, 2012, some members of the Youngstown City Council wisely postponed the vote to greenlight fracking in the city of Youngstown, perhaps, out of their legitimate concern for the need for more due diligence, transparency, and public education before leaping blindly into a serious decision that would affect Youngstown and the surrounding area – including other states and Canada.
Delaying the vote was the responsible thing to do. Thank you.
This issue is not over even though the vote was postponed. Now the vote could be set for October 3, 2012. We must again urge the Youngstown City Council to vote to delay the vote and to hold a series of public hearings, preferably televised, on the topic in question.
For the record, Frackfree Mahoning Valley, a group of concerned citizens from Youngstown and the surrounding area, opposes fracking and related processes since fracking cannot be done safely with the technology as it stands today.
On September 19, 2012, the mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, Mayor Sammarone, made an impassioned, some might say desperate, plea for money that was broadcast in the following WKBN – TV 27 news report:
According to the WKBN-TV report, quoting Mayor Sammarone:
“‘Mr. Hagan, if you want to help us, get us money,’ Sammarone said. ‘That’s what we need in the city of Youngstown, money.’ “
(See: “Council Meeting Heats Up Over Drilling in Youngstown”, WKBN – TV 27 first News, September 19, 2012, updated September 20, 2012:
As the old saying goes, desperate people do desperate things, and we believe that putting the public interest, health and safety in jeopardy in order to recklessly rush into an agreement for fracking, because it is said that the city needs money, is a desperate thing to do, even if the intentions of the Mayor are good. Other, more creative ways to solve this problem should be explored.
Furthermore, Youngstown, Ohio is the current epicenter of induced seismicity, otherwise known as man-made earthquakes. To even consider allowing fracking within the city limits is astounding in light of recent history.
Allowing fracking in the city will increase the production of millions of gallons of toxic fracking “brine” waste which may be disposed of in toxic “brine” fracking waste deep injection wells in the Youngstown area, which is now an earthquake zone due to previous injection that disturbed the equilibrium of an ancient fault.
The mayor spoke with CNN correspondent Poppy Harlow soon after the now famous 4.0 magnitude, December 31, 2011, earthquake. According to the CNN news report of January 12, 2012, Youngstown Mayor Sammarone told CNN Money reporter Poppy Harlow:
“I’ve lived there about 42 years. We never had an earthquake like that.” … ”When you feel unsafe in your own house, then it’s a serious situation.”
(You can hear Mayor Sammarone’s remarks, cited above, and the CNN Money news report by reporter Poppy Harlow, titled, “Ohio’s mysterious man-made earthquakes”, (1/12/12) here:
People were shocked after the 11 earthquakes leading up to the 4.0 magnitude earthquake, and rightly so. Mayor Sammarone was “worried,” according to the CNN report.
We should not forget how we, as a community, felt at that time. We should question the wisdom of allowing fracking and more injection well disposal of “brine” toxic fracking waste in this area.
As the protest sign shown in the CNN report says, “We are Not Expendable.”
Frackfree Mahoning Valley understands that Youngstown, like many cities nationwide, is in a budget crunch, but a better solution than greenlighting fracking should be found.
For the sake of the Youngstown community, families, children, grandchildren and future generations, we must get this decision right. There must be proper due diligence, public awareness and transparency.
We are concerned that this still has not yet taken place. Not all designated experts on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) are objective or impartial providers of vital information that the general public needs.
The Youngstown City Council’s decision must be scrutinized, publicized, intensely deliberated, and voted upon by a fully informed public, because not only does this decision profoundly affect Youngstown families and community, it is also a regional issue, and an international issue, since any resulting earthquakes from toxic fracking waste deep injection wells have the potential to be felt in surrounding states and even Canada, as shown by the reports from the December 31, 2011, Youngstown 4.0 magnitude earthquake, one of about 12 earthquakes in an area with no previously recorded quakes prior to operation of the Northstar # 1 injection well.
Frackfree Mahoning Valley offers our educational support for putting together a public, and it is hoped, televised forum where the community and surrounding states can hear what is being considered and where they can hear truly independent authorities on the risks and alleged benefits of fracking.
Important questions that have not yet been adequately addressed publicly include:
- Where will the millions of gallons of toxic “brine” fracking waste that will necessarily be created by allowing increased fracking within the city limits, be disposed of in the Youngstown area?
- What are the planned locations for injection well disposal of toxic fracking waste?
- Where will the fracking industrial operations and drilling rigs actually be placed in Youngstown? How close to homes, parks, schools, cemeteries, forests, or sources of drinking water will they be located?
- Already, drilling is set to commence near Meander Reservoir, a source of drinking water for 300,000 people in the Youngstown area. This is an extremely unwise and irresponsible decision. Can we expect more decisions like this if drilling is greenlighted in Youngstown?
- Earthquakes linked to the Northstar #1 fracking waste injection well have already taken place. What is the effect of even small, frequent earthquakes, like the ones already experienced in Youngstown, on the ability of the injection wells to maintain well integrity and protect drinking water sources?
- Who is testing the integrity of the injection wells and how often?
- What about inspections of injection wells? See the following Scientific American excerpt that describes problems with injection well safety:
“"The program is basically a paper tiger," said Mario Salazar, a former senior technical advisor to the Environmental Protection Agency who worked with its injection regulation program for 25 years. While wells that handle hazardous waste from other industries have been held to increasingly tough standards, Salazar said, Class 2 wells remain a gaping hole in the system. "There are not enough people to look at how these wells are drilled … to witness whether what they tell you they will do is in fact what they are doing." “
See: “Safety Rules for Fracking Disposal Wells Often Ignored The growing number of wells used to dispose of wastewater from fracking are subject to lax oversight” “By Abrahm Lustgarten and ProPublica | Thursday, September 20, 2012”, Scientific American :
- Will there be an increased probability of fracking-related earthquakes? (The answer is, most likely, yes.)
- What is the likelihood that drinking water sources will be affected or contaminated?
- Where is the plan for Youngstown to protect water sources from fracking operations?
- What will the increased truck traffic do to our quality of life in Youngstown?
- Where is the plan for preventing expensive road damage in Youngstown which could run up an enormous bill for Youngstown taxpayers? See the following video from Pennsylvania that shows increased truck traffic in one city.
- Do Youngstown citizens really want our way of life permanently changed from residential to industrial? This is not a decision to take lightly. See: “"Heavy Fraffic" from the documentary GROUNDSWELL: Protecting Our Children's Water” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZZQxe6FiGA&feature=player_embedded
- Also, please see the cost of Texas road damage from trucks in the following Star-Telegram.com news report. If Youngstown needs money, this is not the way to get it. We need to pay attention to what is happening in other states.: “Posted Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012 Updated Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012, … By Barry Shlachter Fort Worth Star-Telegram
This list of relevant and necessary questions could go on and on. Public input is needed. What do the constituents want to know about what may take place in their neighborhood? What are the risks associated with fracking and related processes? They deserve to know before it happens, and to have a say in what might happen in their local community, although Frackfree Mahoning Valley believes fracking should not take place for reasons cited above.
Frackfree Mahoning Valley sent an e-mail (a copy of the e-mail message is included below) to Youngstown City Council after the Public Utilities Committee meeting on September 18, 2012 where a representative from the Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) spoke to them about hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
There were some presenter omissions and, we believe, inaccuracies, that need to be addressed as a part of adequate due diligence before Youngstown City Council makes such a serious decision about leasing Youngstown’s mineral rights for fracking.
In addition, when asked by a City Council member about earthquake issues, the OOGEEP presenter urged Council to ask the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) about earthquakes because she could not answer those questions.
As far as we know, a public meeting with an ODNR official about the unanswered questions has not yet occurred. There must be time allowed to invite ODNR, as recommended by the OOGEEP presenter, and to do the requisite due diligence to protect the public interest.
Again, the e-mail sent to Youngstown City Council by Frackfree Mahoning Valley is shown below at the end of this statement.
To open up Youngstown for fracking is a serious decision that should not be rushed into lightly or recklessly, as now seems to be the case.
What kind of mess are we leaving for our children, grandchildren, and future generations to clean up if we allow fracking to continue? We as a community must stop this reckless pursuit of money, at any cost, before it causes irreparable and irreversible harm to the public health, safety and well-being. Negative health effects may not manifest right away – sometimes taking years, but that doesn’t mean that adverse health effects are not taking place.
There is a great need now to hear from physicians, nurses, and other public health and medical professionals about their assessment of the risk of adverse health effects of fracking and related processes. To date, we know of no medical professionals that have addressed Youngstown City Council. Why? This needs to happen.
We owe it, not only to ourselves, but also to our children to make the right decision regarding leasing mineral rights. Youngstown City Council members are entrusted to represent and to uphold the fundamental, inalienable rights of their constituents to clean air, clean water, and land. Council must take the required time to protect the well-being, public health, and safety of our community and its families and future generations. It is their duty.
Therefore, as a partial solution, we must:
Delay the vote. Increase transparency and increase valid due diligence. Truly educate the public by holding televised true public, honest dialogue and a series of public hearings with independent, objective experts, physicians, public health professionals, citizens, and authorities.
We cannot jeopardize the public health for some quick cash. This decision could forever change our local area from residential or rural to heavy industrial. Does the community really want that? We think not.
How can voters make an informed decision about whether or not to allow fracking in their neighborhoods if polls reportedly show that many people (62 percent in one poll) don’t even know what fracking is? They can’t, which is why there needs to be a valid public awareness campaign in the public interest, and fast.
We believe that when the public genuinely understands the consequences and detriments of fracking, and not only the alleged benefits touted by those with vested interests in perpetuating fracking and related processes, they will join the anti-fracking side of the argument in large numbers.
After making objective fracking information available to the public, a vote should be put on the ballot for the public to decide for themselves the nature of their local community. After the public is truly informed about the damage fracking and related processes have caused in other states that are further along than Ohio in the process, they will be in a better position to make a real, informed decision regarding the risks and “benefits” of fracking.
The truth about fracking risks is not the rosy picture that is painted by slick, expensive gas and oil drilling advertisements that are broadcast continually on national and local TV and radio. These overly optimistic and, we believe, disingenuous portrayals, which neglect to tell the public about the high level of adverse risks of fracking and related processes, are simply too good to be true.
It is also irresponsible and a disservice to the community to only present the alleged “benefits” of fracking while failing to present known detriments and risks of fracking and related processes. Why is the industry, apparently, avoiding or evading discussion of the risks? The general public, and members of Youngstown City Council, deserve to know the risks in order to make a truly informed consent or rejection of fracking and related processes in their neighborhoods. It is the responsible thing to do.
SEE our previous press release here:
SEE our previous statement /open letter here:
An e-mail sent to Youngstown City Council on September 19, 2012, follows:
To: Youngstown City Council, Mayor Sammarone
From: Frackfree Mahoning Valley http://www.frackfreemahoning.blogspot.com/
234-201-0402 or email@example.com
RE: Objective sources included below to correct inaccuracies and omissions in the Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) presentation to the Public Utilities Committee: September 18, 2012
There is also a link to our open letter of September 18, 2012, to Youngstown City Council at the website URL cited above.
Thank you for the opportunity to ask questions of the speaker last evening. This is a good step forward to the kind of dialogue that we would like to see among experts, scientists, physicians and public health professionals, council, and the general public.
There were a number of inaccuracies and omissions in the presentation by Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) to City Council last evening.
The presenter also was unable to answer several questions regarding the Youngstown injection well-related earthquake. She referred Council to ODNR. We hope that you will please follow-up on the earthquake, fracking waste, and injection well questions that were left unanswered by the presenter last evening. This is a very important topic for Youngstown, as you know.
We are including a few objective and reliable sources of information below to correct the record.
We hope that you will please take some time to review these materials. Particularly, the presentation by Dr. Anthony Ingraffea will make clear the difference between conventional and unconventional drilling and how unconventional hydraulic fracturing is a new technology.
If you want more information, we would be happy to offer educational support to Youngstown City Council and/or the Public Utilities Committee. It would be good to have an open forum where these kinds of presenter misrepresentations, whether intentional or unintentional, could be corrected during the meeting, rather than the day afterward.
And, again, thank you for the opportunity to voice our questions and concerns.
Thank you in advance for reviewing this material.
Concerned Citizens of Frackfree Mahoning Valley
Dr. Anthony Ingraffea (bio below) discusses the differences between conventional vs. unconventional drilling. He also discusses issues with designating the year 1947 as the beginning of hydraulic fracturing. This is a very important video that speaks directly to issues raised last evening:
RE: The presenter mentioned Frac Focus as a resource for Council. Here is a recent Bloomberg article about Frac Focus.
Fracking Hazards Obscured in Failure to Disclose Wells By Benjamin Haas, Jim Polson, Phil Kuntz and Ben Elgin - 2012-08-14T22:26:29Z
[excerpt from full article:]
“Seeking to quell environmental concerns about the chemicals it shoots underground to extract oil and natural gas, Apache Corp. (APA) told shareholders in April that it disclosed information about “all the company’s U.S. hydraulic fracturing jobs” on a website last year.
Actually, Apache’s transparency was shot through with cracks. In Texas and Oklahoma, the company reported chemicals it used on only about half its fracked wells via FracFocus.org, a voluntary website that oil and gas companies helped design amid calls for mandatory disclosure."
RE: Bainbridge, Ohio, incident mentioned by the presenter:
[Excerpt from full article at the following url]
http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2007/12/bainbridge_officials_to_meet_t.html “Bainbridge officials to meet tonight on home explosion Published: Monday, December 17, 2007, 4:15 PM Updated: Monday, December 17, 2007, 4:56 PM By Kaye Spector, The Plain Dealer
Bainbridge Township -- A natural gas explosion that rocked an English Drive home early Saturday will be the topic of a meeting at town hall tonight.
The freak explosion - which officials say was caused by natural gas bubbling into Richard and Thelma Payne's well water - literally lifted the English Drive house off its foundation before dropping it down, Fire Chief Brian Phan said. "
Additional reports and articles:
[GAO Report:] “Drinking Water Safeguards Are Not Preventing Contamination From Injected Oil and Gas Wastes RCED-89-97, Jul 5, 1989” http://www.gao.gov/products/RCED-89-97
“Cracks in the Façade …” Dusty Horwitt, Senior Counsel, Environmental Working Group, August 3, 2011: http://static.ewg.org/reports/2011/fracking/cracks_in_the_facade.pdf
Please also see videos, articles, and reports at the end of Update 1 at:
Bio for Dr. Anthony R Ingraffea follows:
- Dept: Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Title: Dwight C. Baum Professorship in Engineering
- Address: 322 Hollister Hall
- Phone: 607 255-3336
- email: ARI1@cornell.edu
Dr. Ingraffea spent two years as a structural engineer with the Grumman Aerospace Corporation and two years as a county engineer with the Peace Corps in Venezuela before he began doctoral studies. He has taught structural mechanics, finite element methods,and fracture mechanics at Cornell since 1977.
Dr. Ingraffea's research concentrates on computer simulation and physical testing of complex fracturing processes. He and his students performed pioneering research in the use of interactive computer graphics in computational mechanics. He has authored with his students over 200 papers in these areas. He has been a principal investigator on over $35M in R&D projects from the NSF, NASA Langley, Nichols Research, NASA Glenn, AFOSR, FAA, Kodak, U. S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, U.S. Dept. of Transportation, IBM, Schlumberger, Digital Equipment Corporation, the Gas Research Institute, Sandia National Laboratories, the Association of Iron and Steel Engineers, General Dynamics, Boeing, Caterpillar Tractor, and Northrop Grumman Aerospace.
Professor Ingraffea was a member of the first group of Presidential Young Investigators named by the National Science Foundation in 1984. For his research achievements he has won the International Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics "1994 Significant Paper Award" for one of five most significant papers in the category of Computational/Analytical Applications in the past 20 years, and he has twice won the National Research Council/U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics Award for Research in Rock Mechanics (1978, 1991). His group won a NASA Group Achievement Award in 1996, and a NASA Aviation Safety Turning Goals into Reality Award in 1999 for its work on the aging aircraft problem. He became a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1991.
Professor Ingraffea has received numerous awards for his outstanding teaching at Cornell. He received the first Society of Women Engineer's Professor of the Year Award in 1997, the 2001 Daniel Luzar '29 Excellence in Teaching Award from the College of Engineering, and, in 2005, was named Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow at Cornell University. He has been a leader in the use of workstations and information technology in engineering education, with grants from the NSF, U.S. Department of Education, Digital Equipment Corporation, Sun Microsystems, and Hewlett-Packard in these areas. He organized and was the first Director of the NSF-supported, $15M Synthesis National Engineering Education Coalition, a team of eight diverse engineering colleges. Synthesis developed, implemented, and assessed innovative programs and technologies to improve the quality of undergraduate engineering education and to attract and graduate larger numbers of women and under-represented minority engineers. He was Cornell Co-PI on a NASA/NYS/AT&T sponsored project to develop an Advanced Interactive Discovery Environment for collaborative distance design in engineering education, teaming with faculty from aerospace, mechanics, and civil engineering from Cornell and Syracuse universities.
He was named Co-Editor-in-Chief of Engineering Fracture Mechanics in 2005, received the ASTM Irwin Award for meritorious contributions to the practice of fracture mechanics in 2006, and was named a Fellow of the International Congress on Fracture in 2009. In 2011, TIME Magazine named him one of its "People Who Mattered".
The Cornell Fracture Group members include Prof. Tony Ingraffea, research associates, and graduate students. The mission of the Cornell Fracture Group is to create, to verify, and to validate computational simulation systems for fracture control in engineered systems. An equally important focus of the group is education at all levels. Our current and past research has focused on both experimental testing and numerical simulation of fatigue and fracture in a variety of materials.
I believe that pedagogy, the "how" that one teaches, is as important as "what", or the content, one teaches. Further, pedagogy must be consistent with content and the "why", or the values sought in content. I know from my teaching experience, and from the literature of educational psychology, that clarity of presentation, responsiveness to student needs, and, most importantly, remembering what it was like to be a student, are the most important aspects to effective pedagogy. I continue to explore the use of informational technology tools to improve clarity and responsiveness. I hope I will never forget how I thought, how I learned, and how I felt about my professors when I was a student.
1. Outreach via informal education of the public, policy makers, and regulators on technical issues related to unconventional development of natural gas.
2. K-12 STEM education.
- Howarth, R., R. Santaro, Anthony R Ingraffea. 2012. "Venting and Leaking of Methane from Shale Gas Development: Response to Cathles et al." Climatic Change .
- Hochhalter, JD, DJ Littlewood, MD Veilleux, JE Bozek, AM Maniatty, AD Rollett, Anthony R Ingraffea. 2011. "A geometric approach to modeling microstructurally small fatigue crack formation: III. Development of a semi-empirical model for nucleation." Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering 19 (3): 035008.
- Spear, A., A. Priest, J. Hochhalter, M. Veilleux, Anthony R Ingraffea. 2011. "Surrogate modeling of high-fidelity fracture simulations for real-time residual strength predictions." AIAA Journal 49 (12): 2770-2782.
- Santoro, R., Robert Warren Howarth, Anthony R Ingraffea. 2011. "Indirect emissions of carbon dioxides from Marcellus shale gas development". A technical report of the Agriculture, Energy, and Environment Program at Cornell University.
- Cerrone, A., G. Heber, P. Wawrzynek, P. Paulino, Anthony R Ingraffea. 2011. "Modeling Microstructurally Small Fatigue Cracking Processes in an Aluminum Alloy with the PPR Cohesive Zone Model." Paper presented at EMI 2011 Proceedings, Boston, MA
Selected Awards and Honors
- Two 2011 Citations in the category of Sustainable Community Development (Sustainable Tompkins) 2011
- Fellow, International Congress on Fracture 2009
- Richard J. Almeida Award, Project High Jump 2008
- George R. Irwin Medal (American Society for Testing and Materials) 2006
- Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow (Cornell University) 2005
- BS (Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering), University of Notre Dame, 1969
- MS (Civil Engineering), Polytechnic University, 1971
- Ph D (Civil Engineering), University of Colorado, 1977
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Frackfree America National Coalition
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