The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued orders in January giving two Pennsylvania companies authority to dispose of brine at the Northstar Disposal Well #1, the well that officials say was responsible for a series of earthquakes that shook the Mahoning Valley in 2011 and early 2012.Some were quick to sound off with grandstanding statements about how irresponsible it was for the ODNR to allow companies to bring frack waste to this site. But the ODNR explained:
The separate orders to modify the two companies’ disposal plans each listed Northstar among the sites each had previously received approval to use. The orders approved adding the Barnesville #1 Well in Warren Township, Belmont County, to both companies’ lists. West Penn Energy’s order added the Kleese #1 and #2 wells in Vienna Township, Trumbull County, as well as sites in Guernsey and Morgan counties.
The Northstar well, which had been operated by D&L Energy, was discovered to have triggered a series of earthquakes from March 2011 to January 2012. A moratorium has been in place since 2012 on injection wells within a five-mile radius of Northstar.
The moratorium remains in place and Northstar is regularly inspected, ODNR spokesman Mark Bruce assured.
Despite the moratorium, the Northstar well still has a legal permit, Bruce explained; as such, if a company requests the well in the event it is somehow reopened -- something Bruce does not see as likely in the near term -- ODNR can’t refuse the request.
“Revoking a permit is a permanent thing. It is a permanent thing that cannot be undone,” Bruce added. “We’ve never felt that revoking the permit is the proper course of action,” in the event technology would be developed to permit the safe use of the well. That isn’t seen as likely in the near future but revoking the permit is “not the proper course of action either,” he said.Read the whole article here.
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