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Ohio County Asks Governor For Moratorium on New Injection Wells

Elected officials in Trumbull County, OH, voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of a resolution asking Gov. John Kasich to declare a moratorium on drilling any new wastewater injection wells in the county.

According to an audio recording of the Trumbull County Commissioners meeting, an earlier version of the resolution called for a three-year moratorium, but the language was changed before the 3-0 vote.

Commissioner Daniel Polivka said Trumbull County is already home to 19 injection wells, making it one of the top counties in the state for hosting them.

"I think the biggest crime of this now is that we've lost local government money," Polivka said. "These injection wells are being drilled...and we're getting a big zero on funding back. That definitely needs to be changed because we have [road use maintenance] agreements with oil and gas wells, [but] no agreements with these injection wells, and there's more truck activity and whatnot.

"We really requested that the formula be changed too at the state so some of that money comes back to our local communities.

Commissioner Frank Fuda concurred. "There's a reason these people don't want this waste in their states," he said. "It sounds like our governor doesn't care. If they don't want it, he's accepting it, and all of the money is going to Columbus.

"The poor people who live next door to these injection wells are being paid nothing. At least with the gas wells there's an amount of land or acreage [where] people living next to the gas wells profit from that. [But with] the injection wells, only the person drawing that waste in the ground, and putting it in the ground under the neighbor's properties, is collecting the money. The neighbors are collecting nothing. That's kind of criminal."

Last March, American Water Management Services LLC, a subsidiary of Avalon Holdings, appealed to the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission over a decision to shut down two of its injection wells in Trumbull County (see Shale DailyMarch 17). The chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management had ordered the wells shut down pending an investigation into a series of earthquakes (see Shale DailySept. 2, 2014).

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