Groups challenge approvals for Mountaineer fractured gas storage wells

ODNR allegedly violated state regulations and federal law on safe drinking water


COLUMBUS, Ohio – A coalition of environmental groups and clean water advocates has tabled a
lawsuit last night challenging permits for Mountaineer Storage Hub, a fracking project
gas liquids storage facility that would support wider petrochemical development in the Ohio River

By granting permission to the Powhatan Salt Company to construct three injection wells for the
storage facility in Monroe County, the coalition claims the Ohio Department of Natural Resources violated Ohio law and federal drinking water safety law by failing to disclose that the caves would be used to store fracking gas liquids or to study the impacts on underground sources of drinking water.

The challenge to ODNR’s approval was raised by the Sierra Club, FreshWater Accountability
Project, Concerned Ohio River Residents and Buckeye Environmental Network, represented by
Earthjustice, in the Ohio Court of Appeals.

“In approving the permits for these injection wells, the ODNR also ignored its own regulations.
as federal laws meant to protect our drinking water, ”said Shelly Corbin, Ohio Campaign
Representative of Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fossil Fuels campaign. ” We should not
must force our state agencies to follow the law and prioritize our health and safety over law.
desires of polluting companies, but since they refused to do so, we will see them in court.

“The security problems of the wells in similar storage caves have caused explosions, fires, large
property damage, serious injury and death. The surrounding community deserves all legal rights
the protections to follow before a project with potentially serious consequences is authorized
to move forward, ”said Megan Hunter, Senior Counsel at Earthjustice.

Lea Harper, Managing Director of the FreshWater Accountability Project, added:
rejection of our legitimate concerns and expert comments to issue the permit to enable the solution
mining operation of this magnitude alongside a major source of drinking water, destroying billions of gallons of
fresh water and threatening billions more, only shows how irresponsible the ODNR has been
ignore the potentially disastrous results of their flawed authorization process and
the alleged lack of responsibility for their decisions.

“Our safety and the protection of our drinking water must come first,” said Teresa Mills,
Executive Director of the Buckeye Environmental Network. “Once again, communities are
having to intervene and do the work of the regulators. ODNR is used to putting industry profits
in front of people.

“We are gravely concerned about the threats posed by the storage of fracking gas liquids in the
Ohio Valley and right next to the Ohio River, a source of drinking water for five million people, ”said
Seventh Generation Ohio Valley Resident Jill Hunkler. “Our region is already suffering from
air and water pollution from the oil and gas industry. This installation will not benefit our community, it
will only increase the risk of harm.

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