Editor’s note: The following letter refers to “radioactive waste” involved in the fracking process. Shawn Bennett of Energy In Depth - Ohio, says calling this radioactive waste is not the full story, saying there is naturally occurring radioactive material already in the earth, including in granite used for countertops. “Calling it radioactive waste is being disingenuous,” Bennett said. “There is no special handling or placards needed and nothing (in the fracking process) is considered radioactive waste by the federal government.”

Belmont County Port Authority Director Larry Merry was given the opportunity to respond to this letter. The opinions expressed in this, and all letters and editorials are those of their authors and do not represent the opinions of  this publication or any of its affiliates.

To the Editor:

I attended a Barnesville Econonmic Development meeting on Monday, March 3.  I listened as the committee members shared their ideas regarding an Economic Development plan which, if implemented, would surely benefit the community.    As the meeting was winding down, I was given the opportunity to speak.
I said I was there to provide information about a radioactive fracking waste site that is being planned for the Industrial Park on State Route  800, just outside the village limits.  During the drilling and fracking of shale wells, radioactive materials are brought to the surface with drilling waste.  The EnerGreen Holding Company LLC of Columbus has been permitted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to dump a projected 600,000 tons per year of drill cuttings and sludge from the fracking process right next to our town.  
I am very concerned about the health hazards and potential life destroying environmental impacts of this toxic waste.  If ground or water contamination occurs, which most likely will, if for no other reason than simple human error, harm would come to the Muskingum Watershed, Piedmont lake, Dysarts Woods, and our drinking water, to name just a few. Traditionally, all Native American decisions were based on the  principle of how the potential outcome would affect the next seven generations.  All members of the village had an equal voice and say in matters that affected the life of the people.   I ask that we utilize these same principles now in deciding whether to enter into a contract with EnerGreen and allow a radioactive fracking waste site just outside of Barnesville.
Few studies have been conducted, and little is known of the impacts such a site might have on the environment or public health.  Are we going to leave a radioactively contaminated land for our grandchildren?  There certainly is the potential for this to happen if this dump site is permitted in our community.  The job of trusted community officials is to protect the health and safety of the people.  We must require that an honest and rigorous environmental impact study be done before we consider allowing such a risky facility to be constructed here.
So far in my search for the truth regarding this matter, a County Commissioner, a Warren Township Trustee, Barnesville council members, all members of our community and individuals from the local press, have stated that they had no previous knowledge of the pending contract for a radioactive waste site between Belmont County and the EnerGreen fracking waste management company.  I find this very alarming.  The only people who seemed to know anything about it are the members of the Port Authority board.  Patiently, I waited in the meeting for one of them to mention the waste site, as the Industrial Park is part of the development plan. They never mentioned it.  Is it possible that such an important decision, regarding the health and safety of our community could be made by a few individuals, without the local people knowing anything or having a voice in the decision?
 I asked those of the committee to not rely simply on what the oil and gas industry and the regulating agencies are saying to determine the truth regarding this situation.  I presented a fact sheet entitled Hydraulic Fracturing The Radiological Concerns for Ohio and copies were made and distributed to all present.  In good faith, I trust they will read it with an open mind and heart.  The truth is always present, although we must  all learn to see it with the  eyes of the heart.  
If you would like to find out more information, I would recommend the following website www.fwap.org.
 If you would like to read the fact sheet mentioned above, send an email to:  notoxicwaste@yahoo.com.
Please sign a petition online asking Governor Kasich and ODNR Chief Zehringer to revoke the permit for this fracking waste site:
Petition link:  http://www.change.org/petitions/ohio-governor-kasich-and-odnr-chief-zehringer-revoke-permits-for-fracking-radioactive-waste-sites
 Mitakuye Oyasin (We are all related),
Jill Antares Hunkler,
Barnesville