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OH Legislature Does Fracking Lobby's Bidding on Radioactive Waste

1 min. read

More coddling of the fracking industry at the expense of people's health and safety.

Ohio annually processes thousands of tons of radioactive waste from hydraulic-fracturing, sending it through treatment facilities, injecting it into its old and unused gas wells and dumping it in landfills. Historically, the handling and disposal of that waste was barely regulated, with few requirements for how its potential contamination would be gauged, or how and where it could be transported and stored.


But despite calls to require that the waste be rigorously tested for contamination, Gov. John Kasich and the state legislature signed off on measures that require just a fraction of the waste to be subjected to such oversight. The great majority of the byproducts creating during the drilling process – the water and rock unearthed – still do not have to be tested at all.

As well, the legislature, lobbied by the fracking industry, undid the governor's bid to have the testing of the waste done by the state's Department of Health — the agency acknowledged by many to possess the most expertise with radioactive material. The testing is now the responsibility of the Department of Natural Resources, the agency that oversees the permitting and inspection of oil and gas drilling sites, but that has no track record for dealing with radioactive waste.

Does any of that make sense from a public policy perspective? No, of course it doesn't. But it certainly does make sense from the perspective of the fracking industry's profitability. Apparently, it also makes sense to the politicians who are tight with this industry, who coddle it and who fail to do their main duty - protecting the public in their state. No wonder why "[Ohio Gov. John] Kasich's office did not respond to repeated requests for comment about the new regulations and how they came to be," nor did "[o]fficials with the Ohio Senate majority caucus, which revised and ultimately pushed through the 2013 regulations."

Topics: Clean Economy Public Affairs