A boom in natural-gas drilling in Pennsylvania could bring millions of barrels of salty toxic waste into Ohio.
That's a warning Ohio's oil and gas industry and environmentalists are sounding as hundreds of deep wells are drilled into Marcellus shale.
Tom Stewart, vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, and Jack Shaner, lobbyist for the Ohio Environmental Council, predict that Pennsylvania companies will soon truck their well wastes to Ohio, where brine is injected into 159 privately owned, state-regulated disposal wells. It is illegal to dump brine in Ohio streams and rivers.
Stewart said, "I have a big problem that that (well) capacity isn't overloaded by out-of-state water."
Shaner said, "We're looking at a wave of toxic brine headed into this state."
That's why both support a bill in the Ohio legislature that would create a 20-cent-per-barrel disposal tax on brine shipped in from other states. That's four times as much as a proposed 5-cent-per-barrel tax on Ohio brine.