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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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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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Upcoming Events

Monday, October 21, 2013
50 Years: Project Film Festival
7:00 pm. Our first film in this series is “A Place at the Table,” which weaves personal stories and policy-level issues to tell the story of U.S. hunger and its serious economic, social and cultural implications. It further makes the case that ensuring healthy food is available and affordable is in the best interest of us all and discusses the nature of policies impacting our food system. For more information, contact Keith Kilty at kilty.1@osu.edu
Location: 100 Stillman Hall (1947 College Road) on the Ohio State campus

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 – 7:30pm
Free Press Fourth Tuesdays Free Films return to the Drexel!
Love Hate & Propaganda: The War On TerrorPropaganda, the weapon of mass persuasion, is a powerful force and has helped shape events of the 20th century. This film examines how propaganda influenced significant moments in history, and the lives of the people who lived through them. Hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos, Love, Hate & Propaganda is a primer on the art of mass persuasion, aimed directly at a media-savvy generation. Nine days after the 9-11 attacks on America, President George Bush declared War on Terror. This film examines the role propaganda played leading up to Bush’s declaration and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Co-sponsored by The Columbus Film Council. Admission is free, donations encouraged. 90 min film followed by discussion.
Location: Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main Street, Bexley

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October Social/Film Events

Monday, October 21, 2013
50 Years: Project Film Festival
7:00 pm. Our first film in this series is “A Place at the Table,” which weaves personal stories and policy-level issues to tell the story of U.S. hunger and its serious economic, social and cultural implications. It further makes the case that ensuring healthy food is available and affordable is in the best interest of us all and discusses the nature of policies impacting our food system. For more information, contact Keith Kilty at kilty.1@osu.edu
Location: 100 Stillman Hall (1947 College Road) on the Ohio State campus

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 – 7:30pm
Free Press Fourth Tuesdays Free Films return to the Drexel!
Love Hate & Propaganda: The War On Terror Propaganda, the weapon of mass persuasion, is a powerful force and has helped shape events of the 20th century. This film examines how propaganda influenced significant moments in history, and the lives of the people who lived through them. Hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos, Love, Hate & Propaganda is a primer on the art of mass persuasion, aimed directly at a media-savvy generation. Nine days after the 9-11 attacks on America, President George Bush declared War on Terror. This film examines the role propaganda played leading up to Bush’s declaration and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Co-sponsored by The Columbus Film Council. Admission is free, donations encouraged. 90 min film followed by discussion.
Location: Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main Street, Bexley

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New Free Press and Bob In Wisconsin Videos, Donation Page

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/freepress-org-2-0-support-the-future-of-independent-media-in-central-ohio

Bob in Wisconsin @Democracy Convention Aug 7-11 Greg Palast sitting in front.

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Recent FightBack Radio shows with Dr. Bob Fitrakis from Talktainment

Fight Back – Episode: 08/14/13 Why We Shouldn’t Trust Computerized Voting
http://www.talktainmentradio.com/podcasts/Fight%20Back%20081413.mp3

Fight Back – Episode: 08/07/13 “Washington March” 50th Anniv./ Whistleblower Wednesdays http://www.talktainmentradio.com/podcasts/Fight%20Back%20080713.mp3

http://www.talktainmentradio.com/shows/fightback.html

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Journey to Planet Earth Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization

Journey to Planet Earth Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization
See also: http://www.pbs.org/journeytoplanetearth/programs/plan-b-mobilizing-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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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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Ohio election officials cover up for illegal voting by police

Ohio election officials cover up for illegal voting by police

Bob Fitrakis

8-7-2013

My, my. The coverup begins in the Metro section lead which begins, “County election officials say they think a clerical error is to blame for 19 Columbus police officers having their voting addresses listed as the Downtown police headquarters.”
Now, if a lower-class black male had used his work address as a voting address, and tried to vote in the inner-city Driving Park area, the headline would have read: “Massive voter fraud uncovered in urban inner-city precinct: ACORN is suspected.”
It is a fifth-degree felony to intentionally register to vote at your work address instead of your residence. The police might enforce the laws, but it doesn’t mean they obey them.
As the Dispatch pointed out, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who supervises the vote in Ohio, “…isn’t particularly concerned about police officers registering their work address.”
Say what? The top election official in the state of Ohio doesn’t care if the law is obeyed? I never thought I’d say it, but apologies are in order to the infamous former Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, who stole the election for George W. Bush in Ohio. At least with Blackwell, he found obscure old laws and re-interpreted existing law.
Husted is either ignoring the law or refusing to obey it.
By the time the article jumps to page five, the Dispatch reports the obvious: “Registering an address other than the residential address where you live is voting fraud and a felony punished by a year in prison.”
Not to worry about the blatant felonies being committed, Ben Piscatelli, spokesperson for the Franklin County Board of Elections — whose Executive Director is former county Democratic Chair Bill Anthony — chimes in to echo Husted. Piscatelli assured the Dispatch that “Columbus police officers don’t have to worry that their names will be forwarded to the county prosecutor’s office for possible investigation.”
Now, had this been an elderly retired black woman in the Mt. Vernon area, a SWAT team would have descended on her house and arrested her for voter fraud. Husted, with Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine and County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien at his side would have gleefully announced her prosecution for voting while black at the wrong address.
Piscatelli told the Dispatch that “It’s just a clerical problem. We’re working through it.” Of course there’s been no criminal investigation and Piscatelli offers no proof that it is a clerical error. But he gets paid well for being a mouthpiece for the Board of Elections, and all public officials love to get the FOP endorsement.
In a predictable twist, seven of the police officers don’t even reside in Franklin County where they were illegally registered to vote. Study after study has indicated that the overwhelmingly white police force is seen as an army of occupation in Columbus’ black neighborhoods.
We’re also told by the Board of Elections that one of the officers registered at work lived in the city and it was the exact same ballot for the illegal police headquarters precinct as where he lived. Again, the Board of Elections doesn’t offer proof in the form of an actual ballot.
Piscatelli goes on to say that “The Board thinks the registrations were honest mistakes,” according to the Dispatch. That makes sense. Columbus’ finest are required to have at least a GED to be on the force, and perhaps they forgot they didn’t live at police headquarters.
On one hand, Piscatelli’s comments may be reasonable, since the Columbus police have no concept of the meaning of the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments. Why should they be expected, as foot soldiers of the Constitution, sworn to defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic, be expected to understand something as simple as a voting law.

The Columbus Free Press Introduces London Correspondent Lawrence Richards

http://www.wcrsfm.org/content/other-side-news-july-8-2013-interview-free-press-london-reporter-lawrence-richards The Other Side of the News – July 8, 2013 – An interview with Free Press London reporter Lawrence Richards

Sat, 07/06/2013 – 5:00pm
The Columbus Free Press
Introduces London Correspondent Lawrence Richards
in austerity D-note london People’s Assembly Snowden
Bob and Lawrence discuss Snowden, the EU and UK, Murdoch, the D-note and People’s Assembly