It is not just the ODNR that has contradicted the use of oil and gas waste for deicing. During its Fall 2020 meeting the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission decided against the purchase of deicing product from AquaSalina, the Ohio company using fracking brine in its product line, preferring instead to let “ODOT continue with their investigation and evaluation of AquaSalina.”
The current Ohio legislative proposals, House Bill 282 and Senate Bill 171, would monetize the oil and gas industry’s waste for profit when it should be the industry’s cost to incur. This bill’s proponents claim that they are only targeting conventional oil and gas brine waste, but the data suggests otherwise.
In FracTracker’s ongoing analyses, we see that conventional brine waste (brine coming from legacy oil and gas wells), as a percentage of all oil and gas brine waste, has gone from 18.9% in 2016 to 6.1% in 2020. Clearly, the industry may have a goal of facilitating new ways to offload their mounting waste stream onto Ohio’s roads and into our environment forever.
Meanwhile, the oil and gas waste coming from out-of-state, namely Pennsylvania and West Virginia, increases. Out of state brine has accounted for approximately 43% – 48% of the waste disposed of in Ohio Class II Salt Water Disposal wells (Figures 5 and 6). As the merit of aforementioned bills are debated, proposals mount for new for Class II injection and fracking waste offloading terminals along Ohio’s side of the Ohio River. The asymmetric distribution of risk must be corrected. HB 282 would do the opposite by giving the imprimatur to expanded applications of brine waste and a more friendly market-based approach for dealing with a dangerous waste stream — one which we have incomplete information on both in terms of what’s in it (See TENORM Vs NORM) and broader information gaps.