OH Minority Report: Shut Down Wells Before They Cause Earthquakes

Minority ReportThe Chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management for the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (currently Rick Simmers) is a man with a lot of power. He has the power, according to a ruling just handed down on August 12, to make his own decisions about suspending permits to operate in the absence of specific violations of a law or regulation. In September 2014 Simmers suspended permits for two wastewater injection wells in Trumbull County, OH after a very low level earthquake was detected close to those wells (an earthquake that couldn’t be felt at the surface and caused no damage of any kind). American Water Management Services sued saying they hadn’t violated any laws or regulations on the books and their permits could not just be arbitrarily revoked like that. But the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission said nope–Tom Cruise, er, a, Mr. Simmers can arbitrarily do what he wants when there is no specific rule or guideline or law–because he has the best interests of the people at heart…

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