"Frack waste is showing
pretty significant levels of carcinogens, toxic heavy metals, radioactive
particles, and the fact that it has been dispersed in a watery medium makes
it particularly frightening that they would be shipping it on our
waterways," White states.
White says she and colleagues are also concerned that if the
proposal is approved, it would expedite the development of more fracking activity
in Ohio, which continues to be a controversial process – in part, for the sheer
volume of wastewater it creates.
"According to the company
that proposed it, one barge could contain the same volume as over a thousand
truckloads. And so," she says, "if you're able to ship that off to one place, you can
actually increase the amount of waste you are producing."
GreenHunter maintains that barge transport is much safer and
more cost-efficient than hauling the waste by truck.
The Coast Guard is still working on the company’s request and
has not said when it expects to make a decision.
It’s estimated that millions of barrels of fracking wastewater per
year - much of it from Pennsylvania and West Virginia - are now being injected
into more than 170 wells in Ohio.
While supporters of fracking say it creates jobs and reduces
dependence on foreign oil, opponents say the process involves the use and
disposal of toxic chemicals, creating public health threats.