Headline minimized injection wells’ safety

Source: The Columbus Dispatch

I respond to the Aug. 16 Dispatch article “Rules for injection well far too weak, critics say.” Why wasn’t the secondary headline, “State says its proposals will protect against any ‘fracking’ waste problems,” which was more accurate, used instead of the larger one?

The fact is injection wells have been found to be the safest and most environmentally friendly method to dispose of hydraulic-fracturing fluid used in oil-and-gas drilling. Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agrees that injection wells are the best way to protect underground sources of drinking water.

Rick Simmers, a geologist and hydrologist and the chief of the oil-and-gas division at Ohio Department of Natural Resources, presented the testimony about the proposed new rules and was cited in the article. Simmers worked with Gov. John Kasich in developing the new drilling regulations that take effect Sept. 10, creating some of the most stringent requirements in the country for the oil and natural-gas industries.

ODNR has stated, “There have been no cases in which fracturing fluid polluted groundwater water since Ohio began regulating Class II injection wells in 1983.” What other proof does the National Resources Defense Council need about the safety of these wells and the department’s ability to regulate the industry on future construction and monitoring of these wells?

In Ohio, all aspects of the drilling and construction of injection wells and surface casing are witnessed by an inspector. After deep injection begins, inspectors continue to monitor the well regularly for mechanical integrity until the well is no longer active. The facts speak for themselves. It’s unfortunate the rhetoric grabbed the headline.


Executive director

Ohio Petroleum Council