After Earthquakes, OH Institutes Nation's Toughest Regulations For Disposing Of Fracking Wastewater

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I wonder when it will be as unthinkable for businesses to cause greater harm to the environment as it seems to be to tax them. It's uncontroversial at this point that injecting the wastewater that's a byproduct of fracking is likely to trigger any surrounding underground faults and cause an earthquake:

The injection of wastewater from natural gas drilling into a disposal well probably caused a dozen earthquakes in Ohio, state officials said Friday, prompting new regulations to deal with the issue.

The findings about the probable cause of the earthquakes, which occurred in the Youngstown area between March and late December 2011, are certain to intensify an increasingly bitter debate about the safety of hydraulic fracturing within states that sit atop natural gas deposits.

Hydraulic fracturing injects sand and water laced with chemicals into the earth at high pressure to break apart shale rock formations and free natural gas trapped inside. The process, also known as fracking, creates wastewater that must be disposed of, often by injecting it into a disposal well, as companies did in Northeast Ohio.

"After investigating all available geological formation and well activity data, ODNR regulators and geologists found a number of co-occurring circumstances strongly indicating the Youngstown area earthquakes were induced," state officials stated. "Specifically, evidence gathered by state officials suggests fluid from the Northstar 1 disposal well intersected an unmapped fault in a near-failure state of stress causing movement along that fault."

Ohio's Department of Natural Resources issued new regulations for transporting and disposing of brine wastewater, a fracking byproduct, making for the nation's toughest disposal regulations, state officials said.


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