Nobody stood up for fracking in a July 31 City Council committee meeting that saw dozens of people urge council to pass an ordinance banning injection wells within Cincinnati.
All present members of the Strategic Growth Committee voted in favor of the proposed ordinance. It now goes before the full council.
If approved, the ordinance would prohibit injections wells, which inject wastewater underground, from being allowed within city limits. The practice is commonly associated with hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — which uses chemical-laced water to drill for oil and gas. Fracking fluid injected underground has been tied to a dozen earthquakes in northeastern Ohio.
A 2004 Ohio law puts regulation of oil and gas drilling under the state’s purview, preventing municipalities from regulating the drilling.
The wording of the proposed Cincinnati ordinance doesn’t mention oil or gas drilling, which proponents say they hope will keep it from clashing with the state law if it passes.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Heidi Hetzel-Evans says injection wells also fall under ODNR’s purview. She isn’t sure if the proposed Cincinnati ordinance would conflict with the state law.
“It’s very hard for ODNR to speculate on what might happen,” she says, adding that there aren’t any injection wells or applications for them in the Cincinnati area. “This may not be an issue that’s ever tested.”