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How the City of Columbus could save us from radioactive fracking waste — but will they?

by Bob Fitrakis
November 23, 2013

The website says it all: RadioactiveWasteAlert.org.
The billboard with a young woman guzzling liquid with a radioactive warning on it under the phrase: “Don’t Frack My Water, Protect Columbus” set the stage for one of the most important public forums in the city’s history.
If we had to summarize the major themes that emerged from the Tuesday, November 12 Radioactive Frack Waste Forum, the first is this: the public has a right to know that much of the process allowing radioactive waste into the central Ohio watershed near Alum Creek is the result of hidden, behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Ohio legislators and Governor John Kasich.
Second: the frack waste is undisputedly radioactive and carcinogenic. Radium 226 found at 3000% over the allowable limit by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a long-established link to many forms of cancer, including breast and bone cancer.
Third: All landfills leak. If you put radioactivity into them, it will come out.
Fourth: Ohio has become a radioactive dumping ground for the fracking industry and is not importing the waste prohibited by the regulators in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Of the eight billion gallons of toxic radioactive waste injected into underground wells in Ohio over the last 30 years, half of it came from out-of –state.
Finally: Ohio is now poised to receive 19 million cubic feet of solid radioactive shell rock waste in the near future. Our 39 licensed landfills are de-regulated and open for the toxic imports.
The day before the Forum, “fracktivists” organizers went to Columbus City Council to present their well-documented findings. A few Council members noted that they had read about the radioactivity in the local news where it has been published in both the Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch, as well as reported by the local NBC affiliate, TV 4.
When Council President Andrew Ginther asked the City’s Public Health Director Theresa Long, she immediately declared, as public health directors have done in the past, that there was no threat to the health of Ohio citizens from a large radioactive waste site sitting right next to Alum Creek. She offered no data or facts with her analysis.
City Attorney Richard Pfeiffer asks the fracktivists the key question after the meeting: “What can the City of Columbus do, considering the current Ohio laws?”
That answer would be provided at the Forum. After an introduction by organizer Carolyn Harding, a series of radioactive waste experts and activists addressed this mounting health crisis. Dr. Julie Weatherington-Rice, an environmental consultant with a doctorate in soil science from Ohio State University, explained in detail what Long missed.
“They’ve de-regulated the drill cuttings. That’s 90% of what comes out of a bore hole. The mud is regulated yet every piece of cutting is covered in mud and it dries on the rocks. So if the mud is radioactive and it dries on the rocks, it means that the cuttings are of course radioactive,” she pointed out.
Weatherington-Rice said that most of the radioactivity comes from Radium 228 and 226. These are alpha and beta emitters. What the landfills use to detect radioactivity are Geiger counters. These are designed to detect gamma emissions.
Weatherington-Rice noted that the U.S. Department of Energy protocol requires that radium is not to be field tested by a Geiger counter, but isolated in a lab for 21 days to get a proper radioactivity reading. As she pointed out, amended House Bill 59, Ohio’s 2013 budget bill, has de-regulated “90% of the waste stream with no record-keeping requirement because they are calling the material ‘beneficial use.’”
For more than 30 years, Weatherington-Rice has been one of Ohio’s leading experts on groundwater protection. Long did not consult her before answering Columbus City Council members.
Terry Lodge, an environmental attorney from Toledo, detailed the backroom dealings that allowed radioactive material to be dumped so close to Columbus’ drinking water. He spoke of new Ohio laws that permit the “downblending” of highly toxic radioactive waste into less toxic material, freeing it from regulation. He also explained how defining drill cuttings as “beneficial use” as liners in landfills it can avoid testing or monitoring.
Lodge ended by saying, “I’m an activist. I’m ready for a fight.” Lodge is famous for using “guerilla” legal and populist strategies to fight frackers and other corporate polluters.
Perhaps the most chilling presentation was given by Dr. Yuri Gorby, a microbial physiologist and ecologist, who holds the Howard N. Blitman Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is an expert on the physical health effects of radioactivity and fracking waste. In his talk, Gorby stated that in his studies of fracking and radioactivity he noticed a variety of physical symptoms from bloody noses, burning eyes, rashes and neurological disorders including loss of memory, loss of sense of smell, anxiety, and tremors. Gorby said that he has been able to “fingerprint” through DNA many of the rashes directly to fracking. He warned that Ohio’s desire to allow the de-regulation of drill cutting with “no monitoring” will be disastrous for the health of our citizens.
His slide show, which is available at the website mentioned earlier, showed devastating illnesses among people exposed to toxic and radioactive fracking waste.
Nathan Johnson, an environmental attorney at the Forum, quickly answered the question on what the City of Columbus can do.
“They are allowed by law to establish and charge the companies for a program that would monitor for radioactivity in a proper lab test,” he said, “As long as they weren’t selective and charged everyone bringing in drill cuttings.”
On December 3 at 7pm, the group will meet again at the Columbus Public Library on Grant Street.
originally published at the freepress.org

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Free movie Thursday night – Mobilize to Save Civilization

Journey to Planet Earth Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization
Thursday, August 15 – 7pm
Northwood-High building, 2231 N. High Street, Room 100, parking in rear.
This film provides audiences with hopeful solutions — a road map that will help eradicate poverty, stabilize population, stabilize climate, and protect and restore the earth’s forests, soils and fisheries. It includes ways of protecting and restoring soils, forests, rangelands, and oceanic fisheries, plus conserving the earth’s biological diversity. It also features case studies that clearly show signs of a new energy economy emerging.

Hosted by Matt Damon, which features Lester Brown, environmental visionary and author of “Plan B” this documentary delivers a clear and unflinching message – either confront the realities of climate change or suffer the consequences of lost civilizations and failed political states.
Brown, together with other notable scholars and scientists, including Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, former Governor and Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, provides a glimpse into a new and emerging economy based upon renewable resources as well as strategies to avoid the growing threat of global warming.
This is the third in a 3-part movie series by the Franklin County Green Party and Environment Ohio. fcgreenparty@gmail.com

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Bob interviews Jill Stein on www.WVKO1580.com

Podcast below pictures or click here!

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Events Saturday Oct. 13 Green Party VP Candidate Cheri Honkala

Events for Saturday October 13 with Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Cheri Honkala
Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Cheri Honkala will visit Columbus on Saturday October 13, 2012. Honkala is running with the Green’s presidential candidate, Jill Stein.
11am-12noon – Bob Fitrakis will interview Cheri on WVKO1580AM radio show “Fight Back!” wvko1580.com, call-in 614-821-1580
4-6pm – Meet and speak to Cheri Honkala at a fundraiser reception for the Jill Stein/Cheri Honkala Green Party presidential campaign, at 1021 E. Broad Street. Suggested donation: $25.00
6:30pm-midnight – Cheri will be joining Dream Act activists at the Second Saturday Salon 6:30pm-midnight, also at 1021 E. Broad Street. There will also be a presentation by Anti-Racist Action and a celebration of the first anniversary of the Occupy movement in Columbus.
For more info: 614-374-2380
fcgreenparty@gmail.com
http://www.jillstein.org/cheri_honkala

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Bob Representing Madeline ffitch Arrested Protesting PA Toxic Frack Water In Ohio

Bob Fitrakis represents Madeline ffitch in Athens who was arrested and charged with a felony for chaining herself to cement barrels to protest toxic water brought into southern Ohio from Pennsylvania’s fracking industry. (btw Madeline prefers her last name spelled this way)

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FREE PRESS FREE MOVIE – THE MOVIE CHANGED!

Tuesday, June 26, 7:30pm
Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main St., Bexley

Contested Streets explores the history of 20th Century transportation in America and how we got into the auto-supreme society with its lack of transportation options. The movie takes us to the European cities of Copenhagen, Paris and London and shows the steps they have taken to make their cities more multimodal. 57 minutes
Moving Beyond the Automobile is a series of segments on new and more progressive policies and transportation elements that are happening which are making our cities easier to navigate. These include bus rapid transit, highway removal, transit-oriented development, traffic calming and more. 39 minutes
Ben Wickizer, Sierra Club staff person who works on transportation issues, will be there to lead a discussion afterwards. The Sierra Club will have postcards for people to sign and a sheet where people can sign up to get more information on transportation issues, plus literature.
truth@freepress.org, 253-2571

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Bob Fitrakis on “Fight Back”: David Cobb Podcast

Talktainmentradio.com
Listen and call in this Wednesday, June 20
7 – 8 PM eastern time.
Call 877-932-9766

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Here’s how to call in to the LIVE INTERNET radio show:
(on your computer – not on your broadcast radio dial)
On Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm
Go to: http://talktainmentradio.com
Click on “Listen Live”
Call 877-932-9766
All shows rebroadcast on WCRSFM community radio 98.3/102.1 Wednesdays at 8pm

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Bob Fitrakis on “Fight Back”: Jay Warmke

Bob interviews Jay Warmke on his new book “When the Biomass Hits the Wind Turbine: How we got ourselves into this mess and how we are going to get out of it.”
Listen and call in this Wednesday, May 23
7 – 8 PM
Call 877-932-9766
*************************
Here’s how to call in to the LIVE INTERNET radio show:
(on your computer – not on your broadcast radio dial)
On Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm
Go to: http://talktainmentradio.com
Click on “Listen Live”
Call 877-932-9766
All shows rebroadcast on WCRSFM community radio 98.3/102.1 Wednesdays at 8pm