Earthquake in NE Ohio Spurs Debate

by Danielle Cotterman on January 3, 2012 at 6:45 am

The debate surrounding hydraulic fracturing is in the spotlight after earthquakes in Northeast Ohio are being blamed on the process.

Specializing Attorney in Energy and Environmental Restoration Donald Mason spoke to the Zanesville Rotary Club Tuesday on the promotion of shale gas. WHIZ-TV spoke with him on the recent criticism the injection well system is receiving after a number of earthquakes have occurred near a Youngstown well that’s used to inject drilling wastewater into the ground.

"Typically the earthquakes are no where near in terms of depth where the hydraulic fracturing is taking place," said Mason. "One might be 7-10,000 ft. down such as the hydraulic fracturing and the earthquake might be 2-3x deeper than that, it just doesn’t happen."

There have been 11 quakes in less than 10 months in the Youngstown area, which is home to a deep well used for injecting a byproduct of expanded shale drilling. The well operation was shut down last week.

State Rep. Robert Hagan of Youngstown reiterated his call Monday for a safety moratorium on well injections. Mason stands behind the process, encouraging protesters to do their research.

"Trying to link a random activity such as an earthquake to another random activity such as oil and gas exploration is really extrapolating and trying to create knowledge where there is none," said Mason.

A spokesman for Gov. John Kasich said drillers shouldn’t be punished for the well by product issue. He compares that to closing the auto industry over a tire dump fire.

To see the latest in earthquake activity, visit