A week after the dumping of at least 20,000 gallons of toxic and potentially radioactive fracking waste into a storm drain that empties into a tributary of the Mahoning River in Youngstown, Ohio, by Hard Rock Excavating, state regulators have yet to disclose information about the quantity of waste and the chemicals involved.
Environmental advocates are urging the state to act quickly to prosecute the perpetrator and look beyond the one incident to take more aggressive steps to protect the state’s public health and environment from future threats.
“The degree of chutzpah exhibited by Hard Rock in this instance is astounding—but it’s almost what you would expect in a state where we have one enforcement staffer for every 2,000 oil and gas wells,” said Julian Boggs, Environment Ohio state policy advocate, noting that it was a company whistleblower, not state regulators, who uncovered the flagrant violation.
“We have a legislature that seems more interested in greasing the wheels for fracking companies than protecting public health and the environment—that only enables reckless behavior.”
As a case in point, last year’s major oil and gas bill, SB 315 was opposed by most of the state’s environmental groups. The bill nominally strengthened some drilling rules, but dealt a huge deal to public right-to-know by banning medical professionals from disclosing information about fracking chemicals.