Julie Grant

Judy Burger of Belmont County, Ohio stands next to her home, where across the road two frack waste injection wells are being constructed. She fears noise and pollution from constant truck traffic.
Julie Grant / The Allegheny Front

Each well drilled using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas production creates tens of millions of gallons of wastewater, called produced water or brine.

In Ohio, much of that wastewater is disposed of in underground injection wells, including waste from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. As the number of injection wells grows in Ohio, local communities want some control over where these wells are located.

Kevin and Marlene Young. The construction site is directly next door to their house.
Kevin Kopanski / The Allegheny Front

Kevin and Marlene Young built their house in the country, so they had space for horses. “I was raised around horses, and that’s my love,” Marlene said. 

Pipeline construction site
Reid R. Frazier / The Allegheny Front

People who protest oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure in Ohio could face stiffer penalties, under a bill passed by the Ohio House late Thursday.

The dam in Leavittsburg, Ohio, is one of nine in a regional plan to be removed along the Mahoning River, once heavily polluted from steel mills and other industries.
Julie Grant / The Allegheny Front

The Ohio River watershed is dotted with thousands of small dams. Many are remnants of bygone days of grain mills and the steel industry, which used dams to pool water needed during production.

Nurdle Patrol participant Christina Marconi holds a nurdle the size of a small pea.
Courtesy of Jace Tunnell / Allegheny Front

When the petrochemical plant being built by Shell Chemical Appalachia in Beaver County is complete, it's anticipated to bring 600 jobs as well as spinoff industries. But some researchers and activists warn that it could also bring a new type of pollution to the Ohio River Valley — nurdles. 

A natural gas well site in Washington County. The study looked at the economic benefits and the health impacts from the natural gas industry.
Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

A new study by Carnegie Mellon University finds that in the Pennsylvania-Ohio-West Virginia region, the economic boost from shale gas drilling has been less than the cost of premature deaths caused by pollution from the industry. 

The 44th annual Ohio River Sternwheel Festival attracted an estimated 30,000 people to Marietta, Ohio, from Sept. 11 to 13, 2019.
Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

Every September, tourists flock to historic Marietta, along the banks of the Ohio River, for a celebration that harkens back to the Ohio Valley’s early days.

Fire battalion chief, Silverio Caggiano with the Youngstown Fire Department says keeping the identity of some chemicals used in fracking secret puts the public at risk.
Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

A new analysis by the nonprofit Partnership for Policy Integrity finds that "trade secret" chemicals were injected into gas and oil wells nearly 11,000 times in Ohio during a five-year period. 

The Ohio Health Registry, started by a physician, hopes to sign up 200 people who live near oil and gas activity.
Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

A dozen people are scurrying around a church basement in Youngstown, Ohio. They’re arranging tables and chairs, setting up paperwork, and hanging up signs that read “Ohio Health Registry.”

Leatra Harper started the Freshwater Accountability Project because she worried about oil and gas development harming water resources in Ohio.
Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

Ten years ago, the fracking industry was already booming in Pennsylvania, but people in Ohio were just starting to hear about it. Many were excited that it would help eastern Ohio's struggling rural economy. 

Patrick Hunkler and Jean Backs get drinking water for their house from spring water collected in this cistern. They are concerned that fracking could impact their water.
Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

Deciding what happens on private property might seem like a basic right. But when it comes to energy development, Ohio and other oil and gas-producing states have laws that can force landowners to lease their underground mineral rights to energy companies.

Kerri Bond and Jodi Carter at the auction of property owned by Bond and mineral rights.
Brian Peshek / Allegheny Front

A decade ago, people in Ohio hadn't heard much about fracking for natural gas in the state. But since then, the ups and downs of the gas industry have literally changed the rural landscape of eastern Ohio.

The Cincinnati skyline and John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge is seen from the banks of the Ohio River, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, in Covington, Ky.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

A multi-state commission charged with ensuring water quality in the Ohio River will consider whether to eliminate its pollution control standards at its meeting on February 14. Thousands of people have expressed opposition during a public comment period, while others argue that the regulations are redundant and have no teeth.

Courtesy of Trina Moore

Residents in Noble County, Ohio, about two hours west of Pittsburgh, are recovering after a natural gas pipeline explosion rocked their community on Monday morning. Two people were injured, and three homes were damaged.

Governor Tom Wolf's Office / Flickr

Along the Ohio River, anticipation is mounting for the next phase of the natural gas industry. Beyond cheap electricity, Ohio is looking to use shale gas to rebuild its manufacturing base.

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