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Fracking industry suing over drilling bans

As fracking spreads in the United States, voters in more and more cities are banning drilling, waste disposal and other practices associated with deep-shale oil and gas wells.

But those bans have prompted lawsuits filed by state governments or the oil and gas industry raising a legal question: Who gets to say where fracking can happen?

“The Ohio legislature made it very clear that the state, not the local governments, controls this type of activity,” said John Keller, a Columbus lawyer who is representing Beck Energy Corp. of Ravenna in a lawsuit filed against the city of Munroe Falls in Summit County.

“Just like the federal government can take control of certain activities, such as immigration, the state can pre-empt local governments from certain activities, one of which is oil and gas drilling,” Keller said.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issues permits for oil and gas drilling, injection wells and other activities related to the field. But community leaders and environmental activists say the law is not that clear.

The measure in Munroe Falls doesn’t outright ban oil and gas development, but it uses zoning laws to require a wider berth around the wells than what is required under state laws.

The Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments in that case this year but has yet to issue a decision.

Related: Athens votes to ban fracking

Five cities in Ohio have voted to ban any type of oil and gas development, including fracking — Broadview Heights, Oberlin, Yellow Springs, Mansfield and, during this most recent election, Athens.

Bans have failed, too. On Nov. 4, voters in Youngstown rejected a ban for the fourth time. Ballot issues in Gates Mills and Kent also were voted down.

Fracking is a process of drilling into shale rock deep underground, then blasting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals to fracture the rock and free oil and gas. Some of that mixture returns to the surface with the oil and gas. The process has led to a dramatic increase in oil and gas production in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, as well as in North Dakota, Colorado and other states.

Other companies drill deep storage wells to bury fracking waste. Those injection wells have been tied to earthquakes out west and in Ohio.

The Mansfield ban, passed in 2012, aimed to block two injection wells planned for the city’s industrial park. ODNR had green-lighted the injection wells.

John Spon, the city’s law director, said officials there worried that the wells would discourage other companies from moving to the industrial park.

“No company would be willing to invest millions of dollars to establish a new plant in an industrial park when that new plant would be located right next to an injection-well operation which would place the new plant at risk,” he said.

The injection-well company, Preferred Fluids, initially fought the ban but eventually backed off.

In Broadview Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, voters passed a fracking ban in 2012.

“We’re saying we have a right to prohibit this in our community, if a majority of the residents don’t want it, because we have the right to local self-governance, and we have the right to clean air and the right to clean water,” said Tish O’Dell, a Broadview Heights resident and an Ohio organizer with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund — the organization behind the 160-some bans that have passed in the United States.

A group in Columbus is collecting signatures in hopes of placing a ban on oil- and gas-related activities on the ballot next year.

Bass Energy and Ohio Valley Energy have sued Broadview Heights over its ban. That case is scheduled for trial in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in March.

Voters in Denton, Texas, also passed a ban on Nov. 4. The Texas General Land Office, the state agency that oversees oil and gas development there, and the Texas Oil and Gas Association, which advocates on behalf of the industry, filed for a court injunction to block the ban.

 

128 comments

  1. What should happen is the people should have the right to vote for higher gas prices for the cities that have banned drilling. Make them pay the same price as they would for alternative energy. If they can afford that, then more power to them, (no pun intended). When the cuttings that are created by drilling come out, they go thru the same process that we use offshore. Those cuttings are dumped overboard into the ocean. They never create a slick, they don’t kill aquatic life either, I know there’s more than just that pollution that they’re worried about, but when it comes right down to it, most of it is all a money thing.
    I’ve never been to an area where people are so uneducated or misinformed about something. Other parts of the world people see it as a job opportunity, here, if it ain’t unionized tons of people would rather suck on the welfare tit than earn their keep. It’s sad.

    • Price will do nothing but rise as always, 70s was a shortage of oil for gas refining, after finding a large supply else where how much has it dropped? I’m figuring once they pollute most water supplies in this country with this Fracking BS you and everyone will be paying top dollar for drinking water threw the same companies that are drilling now.

    • Dan, the oil price has dropped 30%. You should hold off on the “figuring” and focus on learning the difference between “threw” and “through.” After you get a grasp on that, we can progress to a lesson on supply and demand or globally priced commodities. Let me know when you are ready.

    • Dan has left the building lol

    • He never had the balls to even step in it. His words were spoken like a true liberal. From the ass.

    • Dan ain’t profiting at all so yes he’s against it lol

    • What’s even funnier is that he couldn’t explain to us what depths the aquifers are at and the depths of the Payzones we drill and frac. If he did, he’d call himself a moron for thinking that way.
      He also doesn’t know that the idiot that made that movie, where he went to different people’s homes, was busted for paying people off so that they could tie a propane line in to their water source to make people believe they had contaminated water.

    • Anyways I’m done, I could make this guy look like a complete fool all year long. But I’m sure people around him have already figured that out.

    • Joes argument isnt valid because all the oil we drill for here is exported to china and such. Multinational corporations profiting from stealing americas resources. We still import and all burn saudi oil joe

    • Zach, Marcellus is gas drilling. Did you think I meant “higher gas prices” at the fuel pumps? Hahaha!!!!! No, I meant natural gas, you know, that stuff that makes a pretty blue flame when you turn your range on.

    • Also, we were talking about fracking, pollution, and why companies are suing over these issues. C’mon Mexican, you’re embarrassing me. Get educated a bit more before you debate.

    • Hey joe I have a debate question not 1 pro fracking person has yet to be able to answer… If fracking is so good why is it exempt from the major environmental laws?

    • Because Chrney paid to have all the environmental laws changed so his fracking business could destroy our land – THE LAND OF THE CITIZENS OF USA .
      The lobbyist for fracking represent only private business and alter our laws at whim .
      As for Mr Martinez claim that his companies don’t BYPASS REGS IS INVALID WHEN THE REGS ARE BOUGHT TO BE CHANGED IN CONGRESS .
      ” in other parts of the world people see it as a job opportunity “?
      And where in the world have you personally visited ?
      The majority of the billions of humans and nations of the world have BANNED FRACKING – because they are letting the usa mass destroy OUR land knowing the citizens are some of the most ignorant on this planet .
      Please Mr Martinez site what countries are not protesting against fracking and whose people are joining together to invite it in ?
      Not private bribing corporations .

    • Now where is my previous post ?

    • So how does Hydrologic Fracturing ruin the land exactly?

    • It doesnt as much as they all proclaim it does. It maybe exempt feom certain laws but they are so heavily regulated you couldnt tell anyway. They take safety of the people and the environment seriously. If it was so bad there would be reports all the time of towns and places being destroyed but there isnt its all propaganda to try and stop fracking in favor of renewable energy like solar panels which kill the miners and are more hazardous than fracking… idiots.

    • Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, the north sea, offshore Mexico, Africa. There’s s few more that I can’t think of right now. Hope that melts your butter.

    • See, your aquifers in Pennsylvania are somewhere around 300-500′, we case that off with what’s called “surface casing” and cement it, then we drill s pilot hole straight down thru the Marcellus until we touch the top of the Anondaga, then we plug that back with cement, we use the data from that hole to then come up with a wellplan where we can drill a curve, land it at 90° and be in the Marcellus, which is around 7200′ down. Now if you do the math, you’d see that fracing doesn’t come close to the drinking water. It’s over s mile under neath these aquifers. So if you pull your head out of Bill Mahers ass, do the math, accept the truth and learn s little about what we do, you’d see that it’s all propaganda. All they want is more and more money from gas producers. That’s the bottom line.
      One more thing, the hole we drill that becomes the production hole is cased off and cemented as well. Fracs start around 70-80° inclination which is usually the top of the Marcellus. Which again, is no where near your drinking water.
      And yes, years ago, companies bypassed these refs and really screwed things up for us.
      Come back tomorrow for more education.

    • To fracture is to break. Hemp will fuel this country.

    • Yeah keep smoking it, it’s fracking your brain.

    • You’re hemp will soon be so over regulated and controlled by the government that you’ll still have to buy it illegally to get a buzz. Don’t believe me? Keep smoking it, sit back and watch.

    • That water stays down there. And it comes from water wells.

    • I guess ford was clueless when he built the first car that ran on hemp oil and made out of hemp

    • Buy the way u don’t get high on hemp mr.joe so let the government regulated it it has more purposes than u think

    • He had a great vision, he was smart for using hemp oil. It holds its viscosity even when it runs hot. But that was hemp oil. He wasn’t smoking it and wanting our government to pass a law to legalize it so that they can regulate it and control it. Back in the day when I smoked it I was smart enough to do it without telling the whole world that I did it. Nor did I want anyone to control it. You morons think that you’re winning the battle just because some states are legalizing it. You don’t see the big picture, but you will once its too late.

    • If that’s really what you think, then you are still clueless.

    • Really u don’t get high on hemp 4 someone who smoke weed u should know that hemp is a different product

    • Big difference in weed an hemp goggle it

    • Mr Martinez….fracking became totally objectionable to me when the industry got permission from the government to NOT allow disclosure of the chemicals added to the water used in this process.This mixture us NOT the formula for Coke or Bush’s Beans….IN my lifetime (70) yrs I have seen many things that we were Told couldn’t possibly go wrong….go wrong! So for no transparency. ….No Support

    • I’ll be heating my house with natural gas this winter.

  2. Not sure how you’ve got away with it this long, looks like you will have to buy a nether Republican Congressmen or two.

    • ya had it figured a long time ago, pollute the what, take the farms, raise the prices, tax city water, tax the sewer, tax the gas, tax the pay, as long as they don’t raise fed taxes, makes that party look like hero’s give me a brake there a thieves, some are just trying to clean up the landfill others have turned it into.

    • Cabot bought Corbett before he got into office. Cabot oil backed him and now that Corbett is packing his bags and moving down the road these gas industries are might you say SCREWED

  3. It’s a shame none of this product is sold to the US. All goes into the world market to sell to the highest bidder. Crude Oil is the same. None of the Canadian Tar Sands oil either.

  4. If they don’t want it. Maybe the we should stop sending fuel to their gas stations. No more natural gas for the city either. Let them go back to using wood for everything. See if they want it or not.

  5. The only thing that kept our recession from going to another Great Depression was the drilling.

  6. Fracting is banned in Plain Township of Stark County, Canton, Ohio, since 2010 and Plain TOwnship Schools are not gettign one dime from either natural gas or crude oil royalities form leased lands. Nice work Phil Giavasis!

  7. Hello uneducated ignorant morons – YOUR GOD -DICK CHENEY HAD ALL THE ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AGAINST THIS DESTRUCTION /poisoning of our land changed in congress .
    Wake up – dam people don’t even know grade school geology .
    Usa is full of the most ignorant that are fighting for our countries own destruction . .
    AND HOW MANY OF YOU KNOW WHAT THE TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP IS ?
    it wil allow all you far righters to have fracking anyplace they want . Your house ,your rivers , your child’s school etc .
    Just like you want And its being pushed by the guy you hate Obama . So you should support the hell out if him now .

    • Actually you’re incorrect these type of wells are so heavily regulated they fire and send people home for small safety violations like coming out of the porta potie without your safety gear on. They take safety and the environment seriously and every thing they do is monitired and heavily controlled by the feds etc. There is contaimnent set up for all equipment there is back ups and fail safes the employees have stop work autbority if they see or feel unsafe etc.. so again you sir are an idiot who believes everything they hear from their god MSNBC and their talking liberal trendies.

    • david, if they took the environment seriously there would be no such thing as fracking.

    • Josh go get u a horse to ride around and get rid of your car then if u wanna speak about environment. My money says u drive a car but wanna complain about the environment . Lil far fetched coming from u

    • My sister lives in MI her water is the worst that i have ever seen there is OIL in it I have pic of her reverse osmosis system catching it. The oil companies came installed two more systems in her house to catch it all. So tell me how this doesn’t effect anything

  8. Don’t think I’ll have to worry bout frac in Permian basin, the entire economy is rolling in oil bs!!!$$$$$$

  9. We need to put more R&D Into hydraulic fracking, before we use it commercially. The chance for failure needs to be 0% before we start using it commercially, or even better switch to renewable resources. Which we can, you oil companies just don’t want to because you’re sitting up there all high and mighty on your fat stacks of cash.

    • So the 100 years or better of doing the same process only much shallower isn’t enough for you ???

    • Which inefficient renewable resources would you prefer we use ?

    • All of them. Wind turbines, solar, bio, hydro. All the ways.

    • Brian, it’s a process that we need to stop. This way of life that the humans have needs to stop, humans are killing themselves, the humans are bringing the earth down with them.

    • You do know that no process ever made is 100% safe and demanding so would inhibit any process.. you are an idiot. As for renewable energy its a pipe dream and the tech wont be able to support or do anything for years and not to mention solar panels have so many volatile and hazardous materials involved in making them it’s rediculous to call it green.

    • I’m not an idiot. My point still stands.

    • Yes you are. If you believe every process has to have a 0% fail rate then we would all be in trouble because nobody could do anything. Everyday there is inherent risks to doing things even you driving or getting fuel in your car. So how does your point still stand when its been pointed out that your pedestal is built on incorrect information.

    • Also jusy a point the oil gas etc already exists its not man made we are just extracting it using water and some additives that if you read them are found in your home we just use them in a larger quantity. Water sand additives. Oh and did I mention that the drilling process has many stages and steps which include many levels of piping and cement around the drill hole? But what do I know right.. you are a keyboard green commando who knows it all from liberal anti oil gas websites and articles.

    • actually, I’ve read little from liberal websites. I the to my Way I dabble into politics is through environmental concerns. My point is the process is not safe enough, you don’t know what’s going into the ground besides water, the companies won’t tell you what chemicals they add the the fluid they push the gas out with. And it’s not safe enough. There’s nothing you can do with the brine water, you can’t get the chemicals back out from it and reuse it. The process isn’t safe enough. It needs to be safer, and people should decided if they want it in their community or not. And they should know every single chemical and how much of each said chemical, and it should be used locally, not shipped overseas. And they should be forced to use local jobs, Not import people In, only when they have to, not because it’ll make it cheaper.

    • Actually again you are wrong the water is removed during anprocess called flowback and os either disposed of or reconditioned for reuse. As fornthe chemicals list its on every sites MSDS list has to be by law the only company that has an issue with it seems tonbe halliburton but even they have to provide a list and msds sheets for the sites. As for people and jobs typically they being in out ofnarea experts because there isn’t any local people trained to do the work. They have been hiring and training people in Ohio, PA, WV, VA to do the jobs and they have hired a bunch if not thousands locally so again you’re wrong. HALLIBURTON alone is from what I heard going tonbe hiring 600+ from the marcellus and utica shale regions starting in January and that’s just 1 company of thousands hiring and they pay well. Starting salary for most entry level is 45-60k and its hard work. As for before every site is required by law to have a list of everything on site and brought onsite. Most places if only a few drops hit the ground work stops hazmat comes in and cleans it up and spills and major contamination are rare nowdays.

      https://fracfocus.org/chemical-use/what-chemicals-are-used

  10. Read your history people. Start at civil war. It was fought over state and federal rights. Guess what the federals won. So looks like it doesn’t matter what your state or local government wants to do,the federal government can and will let big business do their thing. Homeland security, National security, and to free our country from foreign dependency

  11. I hauled pipe into some of these site’s it provides jobs for many people so keep on drilling

  12. To bad we can’t go back to ford’s first idea of hemp oil and hemp by products an end this need for oil to bad where not a progressive country

  13. To bad no one believes in hemp oil Henry ford did when he made the first car

  14. the good citizens of my county voted against fracking. responsible drilling is feasible. but only if it is responsible. not next to our schools and infrastructure.

  15. For the those of you that have not seen what the fracking will do to your area. I welcome you to come see my area. Fracking is destroying our land and water. Yes it brings jobs but those jobs are filled by people from Texas and bring drugs to your town. The truckers are pricks that think they own the road. They destroyed a 100 year old wooden bridge a month ago. 4 ton weight limit 20 ton truck went through it.

    • Drugs where already here and truckers are pricks when you turn in front of them without signaling or race around in front of them and slow down while your looking at your phone or making a turn when you could of waited and made the turn safely and you drive like idiots when it’s raining or icy causing accidents and expect trucks to just stop fast not happening so drive safe Share the road and try to give other drivers respect truck or not and maybe you’ll get the same respect people ride on our bumpers and drive behind us with their brights on and we have to watch in front distracted if we have to stop suddenly your dead

    • Either your a truck driver or you have no clue how the drive here. They are dangerous. I’m ran off the road daily. We had a teacher pass away a couple years ago because they drive like idiots.

    • Till people drive a truck they have no clue

    • Agreed not all truck drivers need 2 be driving I see some bad ones u know I been driving 4 15 year now an thank god I never had a wreck I believe in safe driving an working in the oil fields is a hole different kind of driving an people need to be aware of there surrounding @ all time

    • This Yankee knows what he’s talking about I’m on the road everyday for work. Live in the heart of this crap. I do live in the sticks. So maybe they think they own these roads. If you ask the cops about pulling the trucks over. They tell you there told not to stop progress.

    • Who cares if Ur a Yankee or not we are all human no one is without flawed

    • This was copied from a local news paper

      On September 28, 2014, a water tanker truck carrying a full tank of water attempted to cross the bridge which had a posted weight limit of four tons, far less than what this truck was carrying. The result of this is that halfway across the bridge the floorbeams and possibly the truss u-bolt hangers failed causing the deck to drop out and causing the back end of the truck to drop accordingly. The truck driver then dumped his water to reduce his load and abandoned the vehicle, which had to be carefully extricated from the bridge to avoid further damage to the bridge.

      There has been some speculation that this truck was hauling water that was related to hydraulic fracturing. If so, this incident is only the latest example of how Pennsylvania is being abused and destroyed by the companies involved in these activities. Bridges are bring damaged and worn out, and the destruction that hydraulic fracturing is causing as it transforms what was once a pristine natural landscape into an industrial wasteland is unimaginable, and ranges from visual destruction to contamination of the water supply (actually it turns drinking water into a flammable substance…).

    • Sorry that happen I haul the same thing an I am responsible enough to know where I’m going so not all truck drivers are ur enemy

    • If that is a problem up there contact ur local dot

    • We try to talk but. We are turned away big money has people turning there heads. I had half my kidney removed from cancer, and my oncologist said your screwed because of all the fracking in the area.

    • So because of fracing you lost half of your kidney?

    • What the hell has that have to do with fracking????? Do you know how many trucks haul for Walmart???

    • Because of drinking water. You people really think you can drill into the earth and puncture in to get the natural gas and not contaminate your local water? Only the word fracking makes me think of the earth being cracked open. And I don’t think that helps the overall health of anyone.

    • Yes when they first started they didn’t have regulations and no one was watching them so they just dumped it in the water. Our river water is about 1000 times over the limit where it should be. The creeks or cricks depending where u are from lost all there water. When they drilled all the natural springs don’t make it to the creeks. Almost all the fish are gone in the river. A couple years ago they found 10s of thousand of dead fish on the banks

    • Ignorance is bliss! When a well is drilled fresh water from the nearest water source is used to drill with until its under the water table. Then the hole is cased and cemented once that’s done. Nothing will contaminate any water it’s 2000′ under it and blocked with cement.

    • I copied this from the paper also for all you ignorant people that have no clue what’s going on.

      Dunkard Creek is a 38-mile creek that contained a unique ecosystem with 161 species of fish, 14 species of mussels, salamanders, crayfish and aquatic insects. It was one of only two or three creeks like it on the Monongahela River watershed. Some experts say it will be decades before the fishery returns to normal, if ever. Many of the fish were over 15 years old. It’s believed the prized mussel population may be lost forever.
      While the exact source(s) of the pollutants are still being determined, it is obvious that water high in TDS (total dissolved solids) was to blame. High TDS levels, combined with other favorable environmental conditions, created the perfect environment for a toxic golden algae bloom that helped kill an estimated 20,000 fish and other aquatic life.
      One local water expert comments:
      Even if the algae bloom is what ultimately killed the fish, it seems that the cause of the bloom is high chloride levels. The high chloride levels are a clear indicator of frac water, not mine pollution (which is high in sulfates). The agencies just refuse to say the words “Marcellus drilling” in any press article.
      High TDS conditions were also enhanced by low water levels in creeks and streams. These were caused by dry weather and widespread water withdrawals from streams and creeks for fracing operations. Tanker trucks can back-up to any stream 24-7 and pump out 4,200 gallons or more at any time. Many watersheds in West Virginia and Pennsylvania have been dried-up by this continuing raid for free water, since each Marcellus well can require up to 6-million gallons of water for fracing. Some of these same “Residual Waste” tankers were ‘moonlight dumping’ wastewater into remote tributaries and opening their drain valves as they drove back roads under the cover of rain or darkness.
      Consol, the former Consolidation Coal Company, and its new division CNX Gas are very active along Dunkard Creek. A local reporter included this in a recent newspaper story about Dunkard Creek:
      “The only deep injection wastewater well in the area permitted by the U.S. EPA is the Morris Run injection well operated by CNX Gas Co. LLP, a subsidiary of Consol Energy, at Consol’s closed Blacksville No. 1 mine in Greene County since 2005. Because of violations at that injection facility from September 2007 to March 2009, CNX was fined $157,500 for violating provisions of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, including accepting at least 100 truckloads of wastewater with total dissolved solids levels ‘significantly higher’ than its federal permit allowed.”
      Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sep. 20, 2009
      These wastewater fluids could have moved laterally and vertically through former wells, mines and bore holes. Some reports indicated the source of the contamination was ongoing, three weeks after the initial fish kill. Drilling wastewater contains Mother Nature’s own mix of toxins from beneath the earth, in addition to the frac fluids added above ground for the fracking process.
      What also remains to be explained is why it took two weeks for a full scale investigation of the Dunkard Creek fish kill to begin.

    • Some more facts. Pay attention to number 4
      1. This year, the Monongahela River was ranked number nine on American’s Most Endangered Rivers list.

      2. Right now, 59% of streams in Pennsylvania are at risk of losing their Clean Water Act protections because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions. [ii]

      3. Close to 8 million Pennsylvanians get their drinking water from sources fed by streams that may no longer be protected by the Clean Water Act. [iii]

      4. Natural gas extraction through the process of hydraulic fracturing in the Monongahela River Basic has put the health of hundreds of thousands of people who rely on the river for their drinking water at risk. [iv]

      5. Hydraulic fracturing uses millions of gallons of water, usually taken from nearby streams, lakes, and rivers such as the Monongahela. Water is mixed with chemical sand injected deep down into the ground to release natural gas. Such massive water withdrawals have serious negative consequences, both on the waterways from which the water is taken, and on the groundwater into which the chemical-laden water can seep into. The excessive water withdrawals can impair wildlife and recreation and decrease the water body’s ability to filter pollutants. [v]

      6. Natural gas extraction, especially when combined with pollution from other industries such as coal mining, can cause a high concentration of total dissolved solids in the beds of these waterways. The extra chemicals allow algae such as the toxic golden algae bloom to flourish, and can result in massive kills of fish and bivalves such as mussels. [vi]

      7. According to the EPA, more than 2.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals were dumped into the Monongahela River in 2007. [vii]

      8. U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson Plant released over 1,000 pounds of cancer-causing chemicals, over 400 pounds of developmental toxicants, and over 1,000 pounds of reproductive toxicants into the Monongahela River in 2007

  16. If it wasn’t for renewables and electric vehicles, prices wouldn’t be falling.

  17. Obama will take credit for those jobs being created and then turn around and torch it all right when a republican takes office passing on the blame game and job losses for the next decade.

  18. All for the higher paying jobs this creates but if im not going to see it on my gas bill then why?

  19. Dumd as people! The price of oil is set by world demand! The more oil in the WORLD , THE LESS THE PRICE AT THE PUMP!!

  20. Drill bud drill looking for any work in the gas field I’m in central pa swamper

  21. Only in Ohio, would the state government pass funding requirements on to the local jurisdictictions, while prohibiting them from attending to the needs of their constituencies.

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