State Seeks Dismissal Of Injection Well Appeal

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A motion to dismiss has been filed in the appeal of an Athens County injection well permit.

On Monday, the Ohio Attorney General's Office asked the Ohio Oil & Gas Commission to dismiss the appeal of a drilling permit that was issued for the K&H Partners injection well in Troy Twp.

The appeal was filed with the commission earlier this month by the Athens County Fracking Action Network (ACFAN), which has said the appeal raises technical and legal objections about the adequacy of the proposed injection well to protect groundwater.

According to the dismissal motion filed by Daniel Martin, an assistant attorney general in the Environmental Enforcement Section, the commission lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

The permit for the injection well was issued in December by the chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management.

In the dismissal motion, Martin wrote that orders of the chief can be appealed to the commission, but that Ohio law "expressly states that permit issuances are not 'orders.'" Martin also argues that the Ohio Supreme Court has upheld that permits for oil and gas wells are not appealable to the commission under Ohio law.

Richard Sahli, who represents ACFAN, has already said he would oppose a dismissal motion.

Sahli told The Messenger earlier this month that it's ACFAN's position that the prohibition against appealing drilling permits applies only to production wells, and does not apply to injection wells.

“We looked at that very closely before we filed (the appeal),” Sahli said.

Injection wells are used to dispose of waste, including fracking waste, from production wells. There is concern among environmentalists and others about potential contamination of groundwater by injection wells, although the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has disputed that there is a risk of such contamination.

On Monday, K&H Partners asked that the commission to allow the company to intervene in ACFAN's appeal.

That request, and the motion to dismiss, are still pending.