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Ohio senator seeks stricter fracking waste penalties

Ohio senator seeks stricter fracking waste penalties

A state senator wants increased penalties and stiffer permit rules for improperly disposing of gas-drilling waste and toxic brine in Ohio.

Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni’s legislation would raise the state’s penalties for knowingly disposing of oil and gas waste illegally to levels found in the federal Clean Water Act.

The Boardman Democrat says violators could face a felony. They could be fined between $10,000 and $50,000, be imprisoned for three years, or face both penalties for their first offense. Potential fines and prison sentences increase for subsequent offenses.

The proposal comes after a former owner of a Youngstown-based wastewater company pleaded guilty last year to violating the federal Clean Water Act in the dumping of thousands of gallons of fracking wastewater into a northeast Ohio storm sewer.

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Source: Zanesville Times-Recorder

By: Associated Press 7:36 a.m. EDT March 11, 2015



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You and I both know that toxic chemical regulation in the U.S. is notoriously weak and ineffective. And right now, the chemical industry is pressuring our elected representatives to support a flawed “reform” bill that’s really a huge gift to the chemical industry. This bill, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, lacks key requirements to protect people and our planet from toxic chemicals, and, as written, could actually weaken the few toxic chemical regulations that currently exist.

Your Senators are hearing from the powerful chemical industry – and now they need to hear from YOU.

Here’s a quick overview of how this bill is bad for your health and mine:

Blocks Strong State Action on Toxic Chemicals: This bill would block states from taking action to protect us from toxic chemicals linked to breast cancer. Not only can states not take action on new chemicals if they are on EPA’s “to review” list but states would also be banned from enacting and enforcing identical federal rules. State co-enforcement is a primary mode of enforcement and is vital to protecting public health. This is a blatant attempt to reduce enforcement.

Undermines Regulation Through “Low-priority” Loophole: The EPA would categorize chemicals as high priority or low priority.  While high priority chemicals would be reviewed and the EPA might regulate them, the “low priority” chemicals will not be reviewed and would be treated as safe for human exposure without any evidence.

Addressing Chemicals in Products: The bill makes it harder for the EPA to restrict unsafe chemicals in products like couches, baby bottles and clothing. Similarly, the bill would weaken the EPA’s ability to ensure that imported products do not contain unsafe and restricted chemicals.

Fundamentally, this bill does not embrace the precautionary principle, which would require lawmakers and regulators to act on existing evidence to protect public health before harm occurs. The burden of proof still lies with us (and regulatory agencies) to prove chemicals are harmful, rather than requiring corporations to prove chemicals are safe.

This bill would be a boon to the chemical industry but a threat to our health and safety and the environment.

Your senators need to hear from you that you want them to put public health before corporate profit. Tell your senator to oppose this bad bill today.

Sahru Keiser
Program Manager

P.S. To learn more about this issue, check out our partners at the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition.


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