The EPA will not save us
It’s too late for the Environmental Protection Agency to save your water/home values if things go to the dark side with gas/oil extraction. Right now hundreds of square miles are being leased and drilled in the area: Columbiana County, Carroll County, and our neighbor Beaver County, Pa. We are now in for tough times, because much cannot be undone.
To judge by the fracking related troubles in Ft. Worth Texas, Dimock, Pa., ranch well and stream water in Wyoming and Oklahoma, it is likely that in future people will want to walk away from their homes in Columbiana County because their aquifers have been ruined, which makes for a nasty drink of water and also negates property resale values.
As the cement casing around the wells fail (and statistically 5 percent will fail immediately) the area will have to deal with several environmental horrors. The first is methane and radioactive gases, which are side effects of all types of drilling, terrible to breathe and worse if it gets in your tap water. Second is water pollution from underground pressure which wicks poisonous brine into the aquifers, strongly associated with injection wells. Third, earthquakes have resulted from pressure in the widely cracked underground rock which is now prone to shifting and collapsing.
But the EPA is here to protect us, right? Remember how years ago they fined East Palestine over water issues. Remember the local business that got caught for running waste milk through the system? Local proponents of signing gas leases in EP boundaries argue that the mean old EPA will be our watchdog. They will save us. They won’t save us.
The EPA is no longer designed to protect individuals from rich, global interests. It is a weak beast, defanged decades ago by the federal government and Ohio legislature. The agency’s job is to pick on cities, small businessmen and owners of leaking septic fields, and such small fry. They might also be called upon to show up at the well sites with steno pads and hold environmental hearings for show, but as Negley, has experienced, the EPA will do nothing against out-of-state recyclers. Not interested in sick people or potentially ruined water. The orders come from the top and benefit the “not us.”
1) Veep Dick Cheney, in anticipation of the gas boom, pushed the “Haliburton Clause” through Congress, which stipulates that the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act does not pertain to big polluters like gas/oil.
2) The U.S. Supreme Court found in favor of Citizens United which now defines corporations at a “person” who can give unlimited money in election campaigns. The result is that most U.S. and Ohio legislators are bought and paid for by big oil. If you don’t believe that, please view the new Gasland II documentary video available at your local library.
Some now say the EPA stands for “Every Politician’s Answer” to their own economic problems – not yours and mine.
Barbara Whitehead Georgescu