The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

April 28, 2012

Still no quake study by Youngstown well operator

COLUMBUS —  The operator of a northeast Ohio deep-injection well tied to earthquakes in the area has yet to receive the state clearance it says is necessary to conduct independent seismic research aimed at proving the well wasn’t the cause of the quakes.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show D&L Energy in Youngstown sought state permission in February to re-open the shuttered well — after plugging it to a shallower depth — and then to measure the vibrations for its analysis. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has yet to respond, in what could signal a permanent delay.

D&L closed the Youngstown well after a New Year’s Eve quake reached 4.0 magnitude. The state then imposed a moratorium on deep-injection drilling near the site, halting regional disposal of millions of gallons of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas or oil and other forms of drilling.

ODNR spokesman Carlo LoParo said Friday the state can’t approve the request as long as the indefinite moratorium is in place.

A March 9 state report tied the well to the quakes and imposed new state regulations on deep-injection activity.

The state review pointed to previously unidentified fault lines under the well site, which reached 8,000 to 9,000 feet below ground, as the likely source of the quakes. Smaller tremblers had been occurring over the well’s first year or so of operation, but it wasn’t until back-to-back quakes on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve that the issue grabbed widespread public attention.

D&L had said it would hire its own independent consultants to study the earthquakes, with the hope of disproving any link and getting the year-old well re-opened.

Company spokesman Vince Bevacqua said D&L is still waiting for the agency’s guidance on its Feb. 28 letter.

In it, the company proposed procedures its consultants, Schlumberger Reservoir Group and Microseismic Inc., would undertake to plug North Star No. 1 in Youngstown to a shallower depth, re-start operations, and monitor for seismic activity going forward. The letter also addressed procedures at three other wells the company operates within a 7-mile radius.

Bevacqua said in an email that the company’s independent studies “would proceed contingent on ODNR’s approval.” He declined to interpret the delay as a bad sign for the well’s future.

“D&L makes no assumption about ODNR’s intentions and continues to work cooperatively with the agency pending the resolution of these matters,” he said in an email.

LoParo said that shouldn’t stop D&L from seeking answers about the earthquakes.

“They can conduct a comprehensive review of their well regarding the activity that occurred in the past year, and all possible induced seismic activity, with state approval,” he said. “It is their well, it is their property. If they want to analyze the geography surrounding the well, if they want to analyze the well itself, collect core samples, study previous injection, they’re certainly free to go with that.”

State emails from Gov. John Kasich’s office show the Kasich administration was scrambling in the wee hours of Jan. 1 to understand what had occurred in Youngstown. Officials sought to balance the Republican governor’s interest in encouraging lucrative shale gas exploration in the state against the public’s fear.

The documents show ODNR spokesman Andy Ware reached out to news reporters to make clear that deep-injection drilling and hydraulic fracturing were two different things. At the same time, in other statements, the department made its own link between the two.

“The Department will continue to emphasize that a statewide moratorium on disposal injection wells would be imprudent given that only one operational well is connected to seismic events, and that such an over-reaction would be devastating to the largest job-creating industry now building in Ohio,” Ware wrote.

———

Online:

Ohio DNR Mineral Resources Division: http://tinyurl.com/765y2vz

 

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Measles off to a fast start, as cases trend up

    Health officials are worried about recent U.S. measles outbreaks that so far have caused more illnesses than at the same point of any year since 1996.
     

    April 25, 2014

  • Ohio winter takes toll on honeybees

    Ohio beekeepers lost 50 to 80 percent of their honeybees over the harsh winter, threatening the farming industry, state agriculture officials say.
     

    April 25, 2014

  • Potential for heart attack, stroke risk seen with marijuana use

    Over a five-year period, a government-mandated tracking system in France showed that physicians in that country treated 1,979 patients for serious health problems associated with the use of marijuana, and nearly 2 percent of those encounters were with patients suffering from cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia and stroke, and circulation problems in the arms and legs. In roughly a quarter of those cases, the study found, the patient died.

    April 24, 2014

  • Cleveland women held captive seek Joan Rivers’ apology

    Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for comparing living in her daughter’s guest room with the captivity they experienced.

    April 24, 2014

  • Fracking foes challenge earthquake assurances

    A citizens group said Wednesday it isn’t taking the word of state regulators that new permitting guidelines will protect public health after earthquakes in northeast Ohio were linked to the gas drilling method of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
     

    April 24, 2014

  • U.S. weighs clemency for inmates jailed 10 years

    The Obama administration is encouraging many nonviolent federal prisoners to apply for early release — and expecting thousands to take up the offer. It’s an effort to deal with high costs and overcrowding in prisons, and also a matter of fairness, the government says.
     

    April 24, 2014

  • Lower-income teens don’t get enough sleep

    African-American high school students and boys in low- to middle-income families reported short, fragmented sleep, and that could play a role in their health risks, researchers reported Monday.
     

    April 23, 2014

  • Health agencies try to counter mumps outbreak

    Health agencies trying to stem a large and growing mumps outbreak are advising college, school and even day care leaders to make sure central Ohio students are immunized and to separate them from those who haven’t been vaccinated and those who are infected.
     

    April 23, 2014

  • An ocean of broken hearts

    Lee Byung-soo says he knew, when he saw his 15-year-old son’s body in the tent. It could not have been more horrifically obvious. But he wanted so much for him to be alive.

    April 22, 2014

  • Biden conferring with Ukranian leader over what to do
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Kiev on Monday for talks with Ukraine’s embattled interim leaders as Russia’s top diplomat blamed Washington for instigating the crisis that threatens to escalate into armed conflict between the two former Soviet republics.
     

    April 22, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video