Editor, The Messenger,

We are reaching out to Athens Countians to join in the protest and fight against another oil and gas industry assault on our region. A Class III injection well project is being reviewed by ODNR Division of Oil and Gas. The Powhatan Salt Company LLC has applied to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for three Class III solution-mining well permits to create storage caverns in the Salina salt formation, 2.5 miles north of Clarington, OH, along the Ohio River in Monroe County. The caverns will be immediately adjacent to the river. With the number of abandoned mines and fracking operations in the immediate area, there is significant risk of subsidence, explosions, and fissures created by the increasingly frequent earthquakes in the region. The storage caverns will initially be used to produce brine from the Salina formation 6,000 feet below the surface. The brine will be piped under the Ohio River to Natrium, WV, and a chemical plant that produces chlorine from brine.

To create these storage caverns, Powhatan Salt Company would inject millions of gallons of freshwater underground at high pressures to carve out cavities in the salt. Powhatan would withdraw approximately 1,928,000 gallons of freshwater/day from the Ohio River to carve out the first cavern. More caverns could be constructed to increase storage capacity, which could require withdrawal of as much as 380,200,000 gallons of freshwater daily.

The application does not disclose that, as Powhatan Salt Co. LLC and its sister company Mountaineer NGL Storage LLC have stated in numerous news stories, they have been intending to use the caverns for the storage of natural gas liquids like ethane, propane, butanes, and possibly hydrogen extracted from fracking. This use not only creates additional explosive and contamination hazards but also supports proliferation of fracking and its climate impacts and increases the massive amount of toxic, radioactive waste generated by this industrial process. Ohio Underground Injection Control Program (UIC) Class III well permitting does not require modification of an application or permit even if this drastic change of use occurs.

Join us and our neighbors in Monroe and Belmont counties by writing to ODNR by Feb. 6 to help prevent this assault on our region and our climate. Please request a public hearing based on the significant health, environmental, and safety concerns of this project. Tell ODNR that, given substantive health, safety, and environmental concerns, ODNR must provide the opportunity for the people of the region to share our concerns in a public hearing, a forum where people can hear one another and learn about the issues involved.

Please submit your concerns about this dangerous facility by Feb. 6 to:

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management

2045 Morse Road, Building F-2 Columbus, Ohio 43229-6693

Include: “Re: UIC Well Applications Powhatan Salt Co LLC Salt-1 Salt-2, & Salt-3”

Visit ACFAN.org to get more information and a sample letter. Your voice is needed to speak out for climate justice for the Appalachian region.

Roxanne Groff, Heather Cantino

ACFAN steering committee members

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