For Immediate Release: January 8, 2014
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Youngstown, Ohio, January 8, 2014 - The Youngstown, Ohio area is a community that experienced what residents and scientists now know was at least 109 earthquakes in a place where there had been no previously recorded quakes. The multiple Youngstown earthquakes included the now-famous 4.0 magnitude 2011 fracking waste injection well – related quake.
Concerned citizens of Frackfree America National Coalition, based in Youngstown, and Frackfree Mahoning Valley have been following events in earthquake-rocked Azle, Texas and earthquake swarms in Oklahoma, where some reputable scientists suspect that the largest quake, a 5.6 magnitude in Prague, Oklahoma, is linked to injection well operations.
The local citizens’ groups are now reaching out to seek dialogue, share information, and to open channels of communication with the Azle, Texas community, with Oklahoma, with Ohio or other states with neighborhoods that may be experiencing similar situations involving injection wells and man-made earthquakes. The groups are seeking to work together with others to find real, fair solutions to our common problems and concerns, here in Youngstown, Ohio, and other places with apparently similar issues, like Azle, Texas.
An Azle, Texas townhall meeting took place on January 2, 2014 where over 800 residents gathered to get questions answered by Texas state officials (the Texas Railroad Commission) about the approximately 30 earthquakes they have had in about the last two months, according to multiple news reports. In an astonishing turn of events, those officials reportedly would not answer the concerned citizens’ questions. Residents of the Youngstown area have experienced other similar situations of a shocking lack of transparency on the part of their state regulatory agency, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The Youngstown group says public officials need to be responsive, honest, and transparent to the public and to the media.
As reported in an especially compelling WFAA.com news article and video, Melanie Williams spoke of her experience at the Azle townhall meeting. It was reported that she is a Hurricane Katrina survivor who relocated to Azle where she is experiencing the earthquakes that some suspect will be scientifically found to be linked to injection well disposal. She said she had to move from her home in Texas because of foundation problems and major leaks, according to the WFAA news report that follows:
See “Angry Azle crowd disappointed by lack of answers regarding quakes,” by Teresa Woodard, WFAA, January 2, 2014 at http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/tarrant/Angry-Azle-crowd-disappointed-by-lack-of-answers-regarding-earthquakes-238543171.html
Ray Beiersdorfer, Ph.D., Professor of Geology at Youngstown State University, gave information, in a December 27, 2013 news release, which is highly relevant for the ongoing earthquake/injection well issues in Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, and other states where man-made earthquakes, also known as induced seismicity, may be taking place:
“It is especially disconcerting that residents in Prague, Oklahoma experienced a 5.6 magnitude earthquake that reputable scientists think may possibly be linked to deep disposal well injection of toxic fracking waste. An earthquake of this magnitude can cause human injury and collapsed buildings – especially in areas where earthquakes are not common and infrastructure is not reinforced to safeguard against earthquake damage. We already had 109 earthquakes in Youngstown, Ohio, including the 4.0 on December 31, 2011. Human beings cannot regulate earthquakes to make sure that they stay small. This is especially true because the two faults under Youngstown have been destabilized. This is an irreversible effect of the D&L Northstar 1 injection-induced seismicity. We must stop injection wells now to help to prevent a possible 5.6 or greater magnitude quake, as well as smaller tremors,” said geologist Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer.
Dealing with the risks and realities of injecting millions of gallons of toxic fracking waste into deep injection wells along with the possibility of induced seismicity is still an on-going problem in Ohio. Even though there is a history of injection well-related earthquakes in Ohio, injection wells continue to be permitted by the state agency, ODNR.
For example, the Youngstown-based groups, Frackfree America and Frackfree Mahoning Valley, are currently working toward increasing public awareness nationally and locally of a Niles, Ohio area injection well that is now being built despite local community laws enacted in Weathersfield Township and Niles banning injection wells. ODNR permitted it anyway, and it is now being built. The groups believe that this injection well’s close proximity to the epicenter of the 2011 Youngstown 4.0 magnitude quake shows inadequate concern by ODNR for public health and safety.
Also of great concern is an injection well being considered by the Ohio state agency to be built in Conneaut, Ohio, a city in Northeastern Ohio near the Pennsylvania border. Conneaut is only about 15 miles from Ashtabula, Ohio, the site of a series of earthquakes related to injection well disposal of Class I waste. The strongest earthquake there was a 4.3 magnitude quake in January 2001. The rational, responsible reaction by the state of Ohio would be for the ODNR to deny the permit based upon public health and safety issues, but will they? According to the Star Beacon, there is a 15 day public comment period regarding the permitting of this injection well, but again, will the ODNR listen? For details see:
“Brine injection well sought for Conneaut,” by Mark Todd, Star Beacon, January 4, 2014 at: http://www.starbeacon.com/local/x1186907238/Brine-injection-well-sought-for-Conneaut/print
“A Fluid-Injection-Triggered Earthquake Sequence in Ashtabula, Ohio: Implications for Seismogenesis in Stable Continental Regions,” by Leonardo Seeber, John G. Armbruster and Won-Young Kim, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, February, 2004, vol. 94, no. 1, 76-87 at: http://www.bssaonline.org/content/94/1/76.abstract
Yet another deep injection well permit has been applied for in Brookfield, Ohio, near Youngstown. See: “Injection well planned for site in Brookfield,” by Brenda J. Linert, Tribune Chronicle, January 6, 2014 at: http://www.tribtoday.com/page/content.detail/id/597720/Injection-well-planned-for-site-in-Brookfield.html?nav=5021
See information about the Ashtabula and Youngstown earthquakes: “Ohio earthquake was not a natural event, expert says,” by Kim Palmer, Reuters, January 3, 2012 at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/04/us-earthquake-ohio-idUSTRE80302220120104
“Our position is that the injection wells must stop now as a measure to protect the public’s health, safety, and well-being. Millions upon millions of gallons of toxic fracking waste are continually being produced. The waste has to go somewhere. Where is it all going to go? There is no good, safe solution for this problem at this time. For the sake of protecting the public interest, the enormous amount of toxic fracking waste needs to stop being produced in the first place. There is no good place to put it,” said geologist Susie Beiersdorfer of Youngstown, Ohio.
Frackfree America and Frackfree Mahoning Valley believe that science and common sense must prevail over politics and greed when it comes to toxic fracking waste injection wells, risks of drinking water contamination, and man-made earthquakes. The best interest of the public’s health, safety, and well-being must come first. A solution must be implemented quickly to protect the public.
The groups say that in addition to safety, public health, private property, property value, and general well-being issues, proper democratic processes must be followed relevant to the gas and oil industry, which should immediately be required to follow the rule of law without special exemptions or special treatment. Local control and self-governance must be upheld. (See the Community Bill of Rights Committee, December 27, 2013 news release below for more details about earthquakes, injection wells, and local control.)
The groups believe that it is not fair for officials to imply that since studies are being done, injection well operations should continue despite the concerns and real damage taking place now – including serious adverse effects to the quality of life of residents experiencing the earthquakes. Citizens are concerned, and rightly so, that the earthquakes could get bigger or more frequent. Even the effects of smaller, repeated earthquakes on infrastructure, walls, house foundations, bridges, or dams need to be considered.
Since some officials, who are supposed to protect the public health, safety, and general public interest, seem to be ducking out the back door and apparently refusing to speak with the media, it is important for communities to legally protect their own families and neighborhoods. The Texas official’s refusal to speak with media after the Azle townhall meeting was yet another shocking example of lack of transparency by state officials who are supposed to be accountable to the public.
Similar ignoring or minimizing the public’s legitimate concerns has also happened in other states, including Ohio. State officials are accountable to the public. The public pays their salaries. They should speak with the public or media in real time when the media request interviews.
Concerned citizens of Frackfree America and Frackfree Mahoning Valley are reaching out with information, experts, and human compassion and empathy for what residents in earthquake swarm areas must be going through right now. It sounds strikingly similar to what happened in Youngstown in 2011. So far, the public is left to pay for any earthquake damage, and injection wells continue to be permitted by the state.
See: KDFW Fox 4 news video and article, “Lack of answers at earthquake meeting rattles Azle residents,” by Brandon Todd, January 2, 2014 at: http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/24345933/community-to-meet-on-earthquakes#ixzz2pMBLYz8k
See: CNNMoney: “Is drilling causing Ohio earthquakes? By Poppy Harlow and Erica Fink @CNNMoney January 17, 2012: 11:13 AM ET”
[Especially see second video titled, “Ohio's mysterious man-made earthquakes”]
Frackfree America and Frackfree Mahoning Valley say it is time for clear-thinking adults to stand together in unity and to legally intervene to stop this irrational quest for corporate profits while some ignore the real adverse effects of fracking and related processes and infrastructure, including injection well-related seismicity, and risks of air, soil, and water pollution. Those of us from different states can learn from each other and share scientific and other valid information among ourselves. The people need to be heard. We are not expendable. No one is expendable.
For more information, please see the following press release: "Fracking, Earthquakes, Water, and Local Government Control: Youngstown, Ohio and Niles, Ohio Area Concerned Citizens Seek to Affirm Local Self-Governance Rights to Protect Their Public Health, Safety, General Welfare, Property Values, and Private Property Rights" (12/27/13) that provides information about earthquakes and injection wells, as well as other topics:
A Frackfree America National Coalition Facebook post has many informative links regarding Azle area earthquakes and townhall news reports at: https://www.facebook.com/Frackfree/posts/466240923482697
The following video is a recording of a large public informational meeting about the earthquakes and injection well in Youngstown, Ohio, that took place in January, 2012, at the Covelli Centre after the Youngstown earthquakes. Especially see the discussion between the state geologist and a Youngstown City Councilman about the inability to predict where a fault lies until “activities” start - “after the fact,” at minute 1:21:55: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMGmmCQIKPA&feature=player_embedded
People living near heavy industrial fracking operations talk about their experience: “Westwood Lake Nightmare” (published June 23, 2013); Trumbull County, Ohio.
Editorial: Star-Telegram, “Texas Railroad Commission can’t just tippy-toe around quakes,” January 4, 2014 at:
“Surprise quakes stir up Tarrant County residents, by Jim Malewitz, Texas Tribune, January 5, 2014, Arlington Voice at:
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