State Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) decried the passage House Bill (HB) 393 in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee last Tuesday, which would allow waste brine from oil and gas operations to be sold for snow and ice removal on roads and driveways.
“Officials were led to believe that the radioactive, highly toxic byproduct oil and gas material would be safely disposed of. However, under this reckless proposal, it will instead be disposed onto our roads and then seep directly into our water systems,” said Sheehy. “Rest assured, I will be working closely with environmental allies to protect our community from hazardous waste.”
After months of desperate opposition testimony from countless environmental science experts and clean water advocates, lawmakers were able to push HB 393 through committee to be considered on the House floor for a full vote.
Due to a lack of oversight, there is little certainty regarding which chemicals are present in any given sample of brine waste. This type of waste could be comprised of any combination of hundreds of different chemicals, though many have been found to include known radioactive materials. Additionally, the bill removes the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ ability to establish new safety checks on these waste fluids if they prove to be as damaging as environmental experts believe they will.
It is not certain when the bill will move the House floor given the Ohio legislature’s current lack of a Speaker.