Ohio Oil & Gas Factoids

Natural Gas

2011 = 5 Gas wells produced 512,304 MCF per well

Q2-2018 = 2,000 Gas wells produced 277,153 MCF per well

Change in Producing Wells from 2011 to Q2-2018 = 400 fold increase

Change in Production from 2011 to Q2-2018 = 216 fold increase

 

Oil

2011 = 9 Oil wells produced 5,147 barrels per well

Q2-2018 = 1,244 Oil wells produced 3,608 barrels per well

Change in Producing Wells from 2011 to Q2-2018 = 138 fold increase

Change in Production from 2011 to Q2-2018 = 96 fold increase

Translation = More and more wells just to stand still!

Ted Auch, PhD

Great Lakes Program Coordinator

FracTracker Alliance

 

Rust Belt to Become New Plastics Belt and New Cancer Alley

According to a November 9 article in The Revelator, the petrochemical industry is poised to create a new Plastics Belt in America’s Rustbelt, specifically in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. (https://therevelator.org/plastics-fracking-climate/

In the article, Revelator writer Sharon Kelly details how this development would negatively impact climate change.  But it would also create a new “cancer alley” in the Rust Belt.  And, according to Kelly, this is an overlooked aspect of shale development. 

Besides the creation of a new cancer alley, this kind of petrochemical expansion would lock in a huge addition to production of plastics worldwide.  The impacts on marine and terrestrial life and biodiversity would be devastating. The ocean is already choking on plastics. 

And, of course, this petrochemical expansion would increase the number of fracking operations.  In 2016, and E.P.A. study concluded that fracking has led to contamination of drinking water and poses continuing risks to America’s water supply.

Kelly cites one very shocking example of the scale and impact this petrochemical expansion would have:

Shell’s ethane “cracker” plant currently under construction in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, has permits to pump 2.25 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year into the air near Pittsburgh, roughly equal to pollution from 430,000 cars. 

Of course this will have a huge negative impact on global warming.  But along with this huge volume of CO2 will be other pollutants as well, many of them carcinogenic.  Hence the worry about a new cancer alley in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York.

ACTION ON SB 250 IMMINENT

by Teresa Mills, Center for Health & Environmental Justice

We have just found out SB 250 is scheduled for its 3rd hearing next week. It will be for opponent testimony.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing will be on Wednesday, 11/14 at 10:30 am in the North Hearing Room.  SB 250 is currently last on the agenda, but that is no guarantee the bills will be heard in the current order.

One more FYI - testimony is due to Sen. Bacon (chair) SD03@ohiosenate.gov by 9 am on Tuesday and not tomorrow as we were told earlier. 

Below are some talking points for your consideration.  Remember your written testimony is due by 9 am on Tuesday to Senator Bacon.  Email is  SD03@ohiosenate.gov  his phone number is (614) 466-8064 call and ask for the hearing to be moved.  

Also, call Senate President (614) 466-7505 email SD22@ohiosenate.gov 

Also if you can come to Columbus, please let me know.  Even if you don’t testify, please come, we need you!


PROTECT FREE SPEECH
PROTECT PROPERTY RIGHTS
CRIMES AGAINST CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Senate Bill 250 and Sub Senate Bill 250 are frivolous and vindictive legislation.  It is an outsiders' bill looking for a problem but will only create problems for citizens and property owners in Ohio.   Please voice your opinions on Senate Bill 250 using the following reasons:

*       The Bill is Unnecessary.   This legislation was drafted by the most powerful corporations in the United States, with their self-interests in mind.  It is cookie cutter - one size fits all -- legislation that does not recognize Ohio's existing laws that prosecute anyone who trespasses on or damages infrastructure.  The bill is an affront to Ohio citizens who respect private property.

*       The Bill Violates the US Constitution. This legislation was drafted in response to Standing Rock and landowner protests against large pipeline projects - something that has never occurred here.  It violates Ohioans' rights to free speech and free association, and labels those acts as crimes.  The bill's vague language could entrap landowners with infrastructure on their property and paves the way for industry to use eminent domain for pipelines and power lines and to use language in this bill to claim landowners are "impeding" their commercial interests.  

*       The Bill Threatens and Intimidates Ohio  organizations  with $100,000 dollar fines if they object to or "impede" certain private infrastructure or work with citizens exercising their free speech and association rights.  Organizations could be held responsible for members whose actions they do not endorse or control.

*       The Bill Violates Ohio's Constitution. The bill violates the one bill, one subject rule.  The bill creates two separate and very distinct crimes:  impeding critical infrastructure and critical infrastructure trespass.  

SENATE BILL 250 and SUB SENATE BILL 250 

THIS IS NOT THE OHIO WAY

OHIO SENATE BILL 250 DETERRING DEMOCRATIC PROTESTS BY MASSIVE CRIMINAL PENALTIES

Senate Bill (SB) 250 is a thinly veiled attempt by the fossil fuel lobbies in Ohio to deter citizen protests at new oil and gas facilities, especially pipelines.  It was introduced on February 28, 2018, by Republican State Senator Frank Hoagland whose Senate District 30 covers southeastern Ohio where the majority of the state’s fracking industry is concentrated.  It is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee and may be fast-tracked for passage yet this year during the brief “lame duck” session that follows the November 6 election.

This fossil fuel industry effort appears aimed at stifling pipeline protests similar to those at the Dakota Access pipeline that caused widespread sympathy toward its largely Native American opponents who feared water contamination from pipeline spills.  Three states in that pipeline’s path have introduced their own versions of the ALEC bill (North and South Dakota and Iowa).  The Dakota Access pipeline parent company is Energy Transfer Partners, which also owns the controversial Rover pipeline in Ohio that has contaminated many areas across the state during its construction and has generated widespread public resistance.

ALEC describes this bill as codifying “criminal penalties for a person convicted of willfully trespassing or entering property containing a critical infrastructure facility without permission by the owner of the property and holds a person liable for any damages to personal or real property while trespassing.”  However, that description is misleading because these acts have already been criminal in Ohio for a century or more.  What the bill actually does is add a definition for “critical infrastructure” to these long-standing crimes and then significantly raises the imprisonment and fines above current law if such critical infrastructure is in any way involved.   While industry proponents claim the bill addresses acts of terrorists, it does not amend Ohio laws defining terrorism[1] that already have high penalties.  Instead it addresses common trespass and property damage offenses that may occur at some public protests.

A second goal of the bill is to intimidate large environmental groups who support pipeline protests by subjecting them to criminal penalties for “complicity” with trespassing individuals and makes them liable for greatly increased fines that are ten times larger than the already increased fines for individuals.  Virtually all of the major national environmental groups were supportive of the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline and were instrumental in publicizing the protests.  This provision is clearly intended to keep them on the sidelines in the future for fear of being found guilty of felonies and facing large criminal fines.

SB 250 as introduced has received a great deal of criticism for how severe it sanctions activities that are protected by the First Amendment as proper acts of civil protest.In response, a “substitute” bill is being circulated at the Statehouse that has been drafted by the bill’s sponsors to mute that criticism.A substitute bill wholly replaces an earlier version with a single vote and can therefore be quickly adopted with far less discussion than a bill receiving individual amendments.  This new draft is a mixed bag of positive and negative changes but does not alter the bill’s overall intent to deter lawful protest. 

In short, while the initial bill’s most obvious excesses are scaled back in the substitute, the overall breadth of conduct criminalized is significantly increased and its ability to stifle lawful protest extended.  Both versions of SB 250 are terrible legislation that demonstrates how rash the fossil fuel industry and its legislative supporters have become in their eagerness to suppress constitutionally protected protest activities around their most indefensible facilities, even to the point of subjecting moral Americans to cruel physical confinement for grossly excessive periods of time.


 

Federal Leasing of Public Lands for Drilling Accelerating

According to a recent report in The New York Times, the Trump Administration is auctioning off millions of acres of public lands for drilling rights to oil and gas developers.

The price of oil has been rising from $26 bbl just a few years ago to almost $80 bbl in 2018.  In this, large energy companies like Chesapeake, Chevron, Shell and others see profits looming on the horizon if they can get the rights to drill in vast areas of public lands now under the control of the federal government.

In the fiscal year ending September 30, more than 12.8 million acres of federally controlled land were auctioned off for drilling.

Again, this points up the need not to be distracted by shiny objects.  Yes, the politics of personal destruction and fear and hate mongering, as now practiced, can certainly distract us.  But we must not be lured to look away from the actual policies and actions of the current federal administration.  When oil prices were lower, and when the previous administration was tightening up at least some environmental regulations, the trend was less and less drilling.  But now the trend is moving in the opposite direction.

The Times article also points out that the federal government is sharing its lease windfalls with several of the western states, thus winning over many of these state governments to press for even more leasing and drilling.  It’s apparently part of a strategy of enlisting as many forces as possible to dismantle environmental protections.

Once these lands are exploited for mineral extraction, we will be hard-pressed to ever be able to restore them.  This legacy to us from generations before us stands now at risk of not being passed on to future generations, to say nothing about the impacts on climate change and loss of biodiversity.

NGL Pipelines – Newest Health & Safety Threat

We are familiar with oil and natural gas pipelines.  There are several of these crossing Ohio, including the NEXUS and ROVER natural gas transmission lines that move natural gas from the shale fields of eastern Ohio to Michigan and then to export across the border with Canada.

What is not as familiar are NGL (Natural Gas Liquids) pipelines.  Natural Gas Liquids, like ethane, butane, pentane, propane, and isobutane are produced by some shale wells in Marcellus and Utica shales.  These products have their own long-distance transmission lines.  The Utopia line, running from Harrison County in Ohio to Windsor, Ontario is one of these NGL pipelines.  The proposed Falcon Pipeline, now in the permitting process, is another.  It would run from Harrison County, Ohio, through a small part of West Virginia, and into Washington County, Pennsylvania, crossing the Ohio River on the way.

According to a Canadian Study (Public Safety Risk Assessment of Natural Gas Liquids, Zelinsky & Springer, 1996) NGL compounds like ethane “have a high vapor pressure, and when accidentally released, may form a flammable dense gas cloud.  If the cloud is ignited, a flash fire or vapor cloud explosion may occur.”

Such an explosion of an ethane pipeline did occur in 2015 in Brooke County, West Virginia.  According to a report in the Wheeling Intelligencer, the resulting fire continued for some time.  Fortunately, no one was killed, but some families had to be evacuated.

But back to the Falcon Pipeline which would cross the Ohio River.  A rupture and leak of that line could add to contamination of the river.   Moreover, the Falcon Pipeline would be just part of a sprawling new petrochemical complex in the Ohio Valley that would extend from Pennsylvania all along the Ohio River to Huntington, West Virginia and into Kentucky.  This will be the rise of yet another “cancer alley.”

Is this the price of economic development---that the health and safety of our fellow citizens has to be sacrificed? And when all the gas and NGLs run out, what kind of a mess will be left behind? And who, if anyone will clean it up? If we want to know the answers to those questions, just look at the record of the coal mining industry in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania--- ruined land, ruined water, and a sickened and impoverished population.

What Appalachian Storage Hub Means for All of Us

by Ron Prosek

While researching pipelines and related infrastructure in northern Ohio for a presentation that I am to give at the next FaCT meeting on November 17 in Elmore, OH, I also delved a bit into plans for southern Ohio and West Virginia just across the Ohio River.

This is what the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition reports on these plans:

The Appalachian Storage Hub (ASH), also known as the Appalachian Ethane (or NGL) Storage Hub, is a proposed mega-infrastructure project which could greatly expand unconventional oil and gas drilling (fracking) in our state and region. If built, this petrochemical complex would include five or more cracker plants, and regulating stations. Various natural gas liquids would be stored in underground storage facilities and transported via up to 15 possible pipelines. The petrochemical complex would roughly follow the course of the Upper and Lower Ohio River Valleys. Currently, it is uncertain whether most of the infrastructure would be located on the Ohio side or the West Virginia side of the river. It would cost billions of dollars to construct.

 Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition https://ohvec.org/appalachian-storage-hub-petrochemical-complex/

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition https://ohvec.org/appalachian-storage-hub-petrochemical-complex/

Of course this raises many environmental and health concerns for all of Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.  For one, it would stimulate the expansion of shale fracking throughout these states.  It means more drill pads, condensate tanks, pipelines, compressor stations, cracker plants, petrochemical manufacturing, and frack waste injection wells.

These impending threats make our work with the Ohio Health Registry and Pennsylvania’s work with the SW PA Environmental Health Project more urgent than ever.  And it points up the need for even closer cooperation among volunteers from all three of these states.