Noble County, OH — Last week, Earthworks filed two complaints with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) regarding oil and gas operations’ air pollution, including the XTO Schnegg well pad explosion and three-week long pollution event in Belmont County. These, and six additional planned complaints, are based on requests from concerned local residents that prompted field investigations conducted by Earthworks’ certified optical gas imaging (OGI) professional.
“At over a mile-and-a-half from the site of the XTO explosion, we could see and hear the loud rush of gases and brine erupting from the ground. The massive XTO leak was obvious, but the oil and gas industry also causes uncounted smaller, invisible pollution events every day in Ohio that affect the health of communities,” said Leann Leiter, Earthworks Ohio and Pennsylvania Field Advocate. “On the same trip we documented the Schnegg blowout’s pollution, we also found significant pollution at seven other facilities that demand regulators’ immediate attention.”
The recent field investigations were conducted through Earthworks’ Community Empowerment Project, which helps protect communities and the climate by making visible normally invisible air pollution from oil and gas operations, and uses that evidence to push regulators and companies to reduce pollution. Earthworks conducts these investigations on an ongoing basis across the United States.
The second complaint filed last week is against Antero’s Bond pad, highlighting the chronic nature of this pollution. Earthworks first visited the Bond pad and documented visible air pollution in July 2015. On March 3, 2018 Earthworks’ again documented pollution at this facility, which Antero has continued to expand by recently fracking a ninth well on the pad.
“We invited Earthworks to investigate the well in our backyard because we’ve been experiencing new and unexplained health symptoms,” said Kerri Bond, whose home sits less than a half-mile from the pad, and whose grandchildren live even closer. “We have already complained about the wells on this pad numerous times, and received air monitoring results from the EPA showing the presence of benzene and toluene. Now Earthworks has given us the ability to provide the proof we need to validate our complaints about what this industry really is doing to our environment and our health.”
In addition to the Bond and Schnegg well pads, Earthworks will be filing complaints about: Energy Transfer Partners’ Rex Booster Station in Powhatan Point, Dominion Energy’s East and South Compressor Stations also in Powhatan Point, Antero Energy’s Crum Compressor Station in Seneca Township, Silcor’s Cambridge injection well in Cambridge, and E2 Energy’s Borton Compressor Station in Quaker City.
Earthworks uses the same Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) GF320 camera that regulators and oil and gas operators nationwide use to find and document pollution at wells and other facilities. Earthworks’ OGI thermographers have also taken industry-standard training and earned certification to interpret the images produced by the camera. The camera is third party lab-certified to detect more than 20 climate and health-harming pollutants associated with oil and gas including methane, a climate pollutant 86 times worse than carbon dioxide, and other volatile organic compounds like benzene, a known carcinogen.