Ohio Department of Natural Resources

A Pennsylvania gas well.  fracking drilling
Gerry Dincher / Flickr/Creative Commons

An advocacy group says hundreds of millions of gallons of fracking waste is being dumped into oil and gas disposal wells without strong oversight. But the state stands by the strength of its program.

Ohio Citizen Action—a grassroots anti-pollution group—says the state’s inspections of injection wells are inconsistent. These are wells used to dispose of oil and gas drilling waste.

Nathan Rutz with Ohio Citizen Action adds that the U.S. EPA should do a better job at keeping the state inspectors in line.

A Pennsylvania gas well.  fracking drilling
Gerry Dincher / Flickr/Creative Commons

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A new study suggests that fracking triggered hundreds of too-small-to-be-felt earthquakes in eastern Ohio late last year, months before the state first linked seismic activity to the oil-and-gas extraction technique.

The study, in the journal Seismological Research Letters, identified nearly 400 tremors on a previously unmapped fault in Harrison County between Oct. 1 and Dec. 13, 2013. That included 10 quakes of magnitudes of 1.7 to 2.2 — significantly more intense than expected, though still minor.

Ohio's Earthquake Average Since 2010 Has Risen

Mar 17, 2014

A newspaper analysis finds that the average number of 2.0 magnitude and higher earthquakes occurring in Ohio each year has risen.

The rise reported by The Columbus Dispatch coincides with an average increase in tremors nationally and to an increase in oil-and-gas drilling and deep injection activity in eastern Ohio.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources data reviewed by the newspaper showed Ohio averaged two earthquakes annually of 2.0 magnitude or greater between 1950 and 2009. Between 2010 and 2014, that average rose to nine.

Ohio officials are advising oil and gas companies to share information on the toxic chemicals they use with local authorities, including first responders.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio notified companies this month that federal disclosure law trumps a 2001 state law requiring only that the information be filed with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The amount of waste from the shale gas and oil drilling process injected into disposal wells in Ohio is continuing to rise.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says that 14.2 million barrels of fluids and other waste from the process of hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - were injected into disposal wells in the state in 2012. That was up 12 percent from the previous year.

Officials say drilling in Ohio's Utica shale region nearly doubled the output of oil and natural gas there since 2011.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday that the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the shale region of eastern Ohio increased the oil output by 93 percent and the natural gas output by 80 percent in that time.

Some environmentalists are asking the federal Environmental Protection Agency to do a full audit and investigation of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the state agency that grants permits for injection and extraction wells. Brian Rothenberg of Progress Ohio says the state agency is not doing due diligence in regulating those wells in Ohio.

A newspaper reports that injection drilling in Ohio hasn't met the initial expectations of state officials this year.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials had told state legislators in March that as many as 250 of the natural-gas and oil wells would be drilled in eastern Ohio Utica shale by the end of the year.

But state records show that only 165 wells have been completed, with 22 more being drilled.

Heather McLaughlin / Flickr

COLUMBUS, Ohio - State officials and advocates say available funding limits how much testing is done to identify Ohio lake pollution and problems in several areas.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the amount spent on testing is less than $200,000 a year.

The Environmental Protection Agency has about $80,000 for testing annually. Officials at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources say they spent nearly that much last year to test for toxic blue-green algae at 20 areas, including the troubled Grand Lake St. Marys between Dayton and Toledo.