Ohio Officials Not Panicking Over Activists' Claims About Threats From Radioactive Fracking Waste
From The Columbus Dispatch:
Ralph Haefner has tried for months to study radiation and other pollutants in the wastewater from Utica shale wells.
The supervisory geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Columbus said he has yet to find an energy company willing to share well samples.
“I know the oil and gas companies are doing a lot of damage control against the negative perceptions of shale development,” Haefner said. “In a lot of ways, we would be another thorn in their side, no matter what we find.”
Mark Bruce, a spokesman for the Natural Resources department, said the agency has yet to collect information on enhanced radiation in drilling muds, sludge and fracking sands sent to landfills. Laboratory radiation tests typically take two to three weeks to return results.
As more tests are done, the results should help provide the state with its best view of how much radioactivity is in Utica shale waste, Snee said.
Industry officials say radiation isn’t a problem.
“We are talking about naturally occurring radioactive materials,” said Tom Stewart, vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. “It’s the very same thing that you encounter on your granite desktop, or when you eat a banana.”
Then-Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally said much the same in a November interview.
“There’s radon in granite countertops,” said Nally, who resigned from the Ohio EPA on Jan. 7.