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Ohioans are shocked to stumble on a new proposal by GreenHunter, a Texas-based fracking wastewater company, to build a barge off-loading facility on the Ohio River in Meigs County. Barging of liquid frack waste has not been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, which received 60,000 public comments last December opposing the proposal.

The dock proposal to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was found by an individual scanning the Federal Register. No notice has been issued in state or local media. The online notice posted by the Corps on June 27, specifies that public comments must be hard copies and received at the Corps’ Huntington office by July 28.

Coal barge on the Ohio River. A Texas-based company has filed a proposal permit for a barge dock on the Ohio River to ship fracking wastewater.
Coal barge on the Ohio River. A Texas-based company has filed a proposal permit for a barge dock on the Ohio River to ship fracking wastewater.

Roxanne Groff, Bern Township (Athens County) Trustee and former Athens County Commissioner, stated:

It is imperative that the Corps allow more time for citizens to become informed and comment knowledgeably on this disastrous project. Most rural elected officials are not yet even aware of the project and only meet once a month. There is no time for discussion by citizens or time to even understand the potential impacts of toxic radioactive waste being offloaded to a facility that does not even have regulations for storage or transport from the river site.

Groff alluded to two June 2014 Ohio fracking explosions and fires, one in Monroe County in which 20 fracking trucks burned for two days and led to a “significant fishkill,” according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and another in which a frackwaste truck at Envirotank’s Belpre facility exploded and burned three men. One of the men, Kevin McClain, 32, remained in critical condition as of July 3. Both explosions involved transfers of hydrocarbon-laden frack liquids

“Imagine an explosion from a barge carrying a half-million gallons of frackwaste at a site that is storing hundreds of thousands of gallons of this toxic radioactive waste. Can you imagine, if a spark ignited an off-loading bargeful, what a half-million gallons of flammable frackwaste would do to the riverside and downstream communities?” Groff asked.

Groups, including Athens County Fracking Action NetworkPeople’s Oil & Gas Collaborative-OhioCenter for Health, Environment & JusticeFreshwater Accountability Project and Southwest Ohio No Frack Forum are urging Ohioans to promptly email Corps Project Manager Teresa Spagna at [email protected] to request an extension of the comment period to Oct. 31 and ask the Corps to hold a public hearing (include RE: LRH 2013-848-OHR in the e-mail subject line).

“The summer months are a time when many people are on vacation,” said Athens County Fracking Action Network member Heather Cantino. “Is GreenHunter purposely trying to sneak this through without any public scrutiny?” 

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