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Additional Resources

The City of Cleveland's ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE DIRECTORY provides links and contact information for many useful community, conservation, environmental and governmental organizations.


To Reach US Senators and Representatives

To identify your state and federal elected officials visit www.congress.org and enter your zip code.

To reach U.S. Senators and Representatives
U.S. Capitol Switchboard:
202-224-3121

U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510
www.senate.gov

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
www.house.gov

To reach the White House
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500
202-456-1414
president@whitehouse.gov

To reach State Senators
Ohio Statehouse
Columbus, OH 43215

To reach State Representatives
Ohio House of Representatives
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43266-0603

To reach the Governor
Gov. John Kasich
77 South High Street
30th Floor, Riffe Center
Columbus, OH 43266-0601
(614) 466-3555


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Northeast Ohio Gas Accountability Project:
The Environmental Impacts of Oil/Gas Drilling

March/April 2010

By Kari Matsko and Ron Prosek

In Ohio, the so-called “urbanized” drilling program has brought oil/gas drilling literally into our backyards—as close as 100 feet from homes, schools, places of worship, libraries, and so on. Now that an extractive, industrial activity is occurring in residential neighborhoods, more and more people are asking about the potential environmental impacts. The oil/gas industry propaganda claims that this drilling is completely safe; however, the facts say otherwise.

According to the U.S. EPA, radiation is a possible threat at gas and oil sites. Levels of radon, radium-226, and radium-228 which could be present in the solid waste gas/oil drillers bury onsite in Ohio, are not known due to lack of testing. In 2005, the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations (STRONGER) stated that Ohio has not yet met federal recommendations to determine if Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) is present because the agency responsible for regulating in Ohio has not yet completed the necessary rule making.

The Oil and Gas Accountability Project lists a more obvious threat: explosion. The Project states an oil/gas well can explode at any time, sending drilling and other equipment up through the air and out away from the wellhead, potentially killing and injuring people and destroying property. Oil/gas wells can also cause massive fires that are often very difficult to extinguish. Explosions can happen during drilling of the well, servicing the well, or during the production phase. In the past few years, many of these situations have occurred around Ohio. Due to the high pressure nature of modern gas wells, the explosion radius is typically 300 to 500 ft. The 100 ft setback between structures and gas wells, which was established in the 1960s, was a safe distance during that era since this was prior to the age of advanced high pressure technology. This "safe distance" is no longer the case.

Tank batteries are a group of tanks that are connected to receive crude oil production from a well or a producing lease. Tank batteries holding brine and/or oil also produce hazards to the environment in the form of a more insidious threat. Some of the known components of Ohio brine include mercury, lead, arsenic, chromium and toluene. When infrared videos have been taken of tanks, it is clear that they are out-gassing some of their contents in the form of “fugitive emission” vapors that are invisible to the naked eye. Impact studies have shown leakage of up to 15 possible gases. Some of the most harmful gas leaks from oil and gas sites include benzene, xylene, and hydrogen sulfide. As recently as September 2009, a worker in Guernsey County Ohio was killed by hydrogen sulfide, and several others were injured despite being approximately 500 ft from the site. Leaks also can include methane, which has been found to be a greenhouse gas 62 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

Oil/gas well drilling also poses potential threats to our drinking water. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), forty-two percent of Ohioans depend on water wells. The ODNR annually investigates around 50 water well contamination reports resulting from gas and oil drilling. The Bainbridge Township incident is a prime example. In 2007, an oil/gas well, which had just undergone hydraulic fracturing, ruined the water wells in an entire neighborhood and blew a house off its foundation. According to Chief Husted of the Division of Mineral Resource Management, none of the 1400 oil/gas permits issued in 2008 were rejected due to environmental concerns.

The Ohio House and Senate will likely soon pass Senate Bill 165 to modify oil and gas law. In its current state, this bill, which meets the approval of the oil and gas lobby, does not meet national recommendations to be protective of the environment. Please write and ask lawmakers to amend this bill before passing.

For more information, visit www.neogap.org, www.ogap.org, and www.endocrinedisruption.com, or contact Kari Matsko and Ron Prosek (440-579-5314).

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Calling All Local Issues

Do you know of a local environmental issue in need of attention? Do you have inside information on what's going on in your city or township? With over 5,000 members in Northeast Ohio we count on you to be the Club's eyes and ears of the region. While the Federal government and large corporations continue to wreak havoc on our environment, it is more important than ever before to act as watchdogs in our own backyards.

If you know of a local environmental issue in need of observation or action, please contact the Conservation Committee - Dennis Plank (216) 939-8229.

Remember, no obstacle too great when passionate communities unite.

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Activist Calling Instructions

For those new to calling state or federal representatives, it's easier and less confrontational than it sounds. You will never speak directly with your rep or senator - an aide will answer the phone, take brief notes plus your name and city (sometimes), and that's it.

When calling either state or federal government offices, you will not need to go into detail or defend your position. No one will ever argue with you. They may ask questions to clarify what issue you support or don't support. But it's usually as simple as saying: "Please let my rep know that I want him/ her to support Bill number XX" (if there is a number), or "green building standards in schools", or "more renewable energy"; or "I do not want the US to drill for oil in ANWR!" The staff taking the calls are there to receive your information and forward it on or to provide information you request. They will not question what you support or your beliefs. You will never know if they personally do not agree with you.

One phone call is a lot more important than you may think! A long-time aide in Washington explained that, if a congress person receives many calls at their office, the aide will actually call the congress person on their cell phone, even if they're on the floor of the Capitol, debating. When asked, "How many is a lot?" her response was, "About 20." Your one call can make a difference.

For updates on Sierra Club legislative priorities call 202-675-2394 or log on to www.sierraclub.org

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