Don’t do more damage

Letter to the Editor Parkersburg News & Sentinel, May 9 by Eric Engle

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has recently issued a Public Notice (20-07), which states that Deeprock Disposal Solutions LLC has submitted an application under the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 to construct a waterfront barge loading and offloading facility on the Ohio River by Rt. 7 to transfer traditional oil and gas well waste to existing upland storage tanks.
More oil and gas waste being shipped to Ohio up the Ohio River, doesn’t that sound wonderful?
Here we are in the midst of the worst pandemic in this country in 100 years and the oil and gas industry is trying to push through risky permitting to allow more dangerous waste to be offloaded and dumped here. This waste could be shipped in from as far away as Texas and Oklahoma. Oil and gas waste has been shown to be radioactive, it contains high salinity, and it has been shown to contain known carcinogens. This is a danger to area aquifers and groundwater, and the Ohio River is a drinking water source for 5 million people and is already one of the most contaminated and polluted waterways in the country.
The permit application itself states that the barge lodging and offloading dock is within the known or historic range of the endangered Indiana bat, the threatened northern long-eared bat, the endangered fanshell mussel, the endangered pink mucket pearly mussel, the endangered sheepnose mussel, and the endangered snuffbox mussel. A trip to the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge will inform you that these and other mussel populations have already been impacted heavily by the dredging and damming of the Ohio River for river commerce, and that these water purifying mussel species are critical to the river valley’s ecology and river health.
Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action has joined other organizations in asking for a public hearing and extension of the public comment period on this waste offloading station. The people of the Mid-Ohio River Valley, on both sides of the river, need to say no to this nonsense. COVID-19 has decimated the oil and gas industry and our focus needs to be on energy transition, not clinging to the past and continuing to pollute and contaminate already devastated communities.