OH EPA Dings MarkWest Over Slurry Spills in OH Swamps

Swamp ThingOnce upon a time here in the good old U.S. of A. we used to call large areas of stagnant, smelly, mosquito-infested pools of water what they are: swamps. Then came the so-called environmentalist movement that renamed the word “swamp” to the pristine-sounding word “wetland.” Gotta love a good euphemism. We used to drain swamps. Now we make people get permits to walk across them, for fear of killing a mosquito (no doubt carrying West Nile Virus). Such is the enlightened age in which we live.

MarkWest Energy, arguably the largest midstream company (pipelines and processing plants) in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region, is having trouble in–or more properly under–some of Ohio’s swamps. In drilling under some Ohio “wetlands” to install pipelines, MarkWest has leaked a non-toxic clay-and-water slurry on a number of occasions. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has told MarkWest recent spills are “unacceptable.” Ohio anti-drillers see it as an opportunity to shut down fracking (no pipelines, no way to get the gas and liquids to market). Fortunately, the Ohio EPA is a bit more level-headed than that, saying they prefer to work with companies like MarkWest to help them do better, not just shut them down…

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