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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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THE GREAT GOP ELECTION THEFT PARTNERSHIP NYC Press Conference Oct.22, 2012

New York City press conference, Monday, October 22, 2012
THE GREAT GOP ELECTION THEFT PARTNERSHIP:
The Romney Family, Hart InterCivic, a major American voting machine company and Karl Rove’s Wireless Election Management Empire…
Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis of the Free Press (www.freepress.org) will present shocking new information on the Bain Capital part ownership of one of America’s chief voting machine companies, Hart InterCivic that counts many votes around the US. Additionally, Jill Simson and Jim March will present on the wireless empire of Karl Rove and associates for possible election manipulation. Both presentations will be part of a panel which also includes NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller and election activist Lori Grace on other possible upcoming election manipulations in the November 2012 elections nationwide.

Time: Monday, October 22nd, 12:00-2:00 pm. EST
Place: New York Open Center, 22 E. 30th street, New York, NY 10016

Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis are the editors of the Free Press www.freepress.org which has played a major role in exposing election manipulations since 2004. Bob Fitrakis and Cliff Arnebeck have participated in the KingLincoln Bronzeville lawsuit against Bush where they held him and Rove accountable for election stealing in 2004. Mark Crispin Miller is author of Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform.

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Protect the Vote! Election Protection & Video the Vote volunteers needed

by Free Press Staff
October 5, 2012

Election Protection Observers
The Free Press (Freepress.org) in conjunction with the Green Party will be placing observers for the 2012 election. We need volunteers. All observers must be eligible voters in Ohio.
If you are new to this, you may not know that we can appoint one observer at the county level. County level observers can observe in a different county from their county of residence. County level observers can observe at any precinct throughout the day, and also can observe the vote counting* process in the evening of election day (approximately 7:30 to midnight) Our goal is to place one county level observer in 44 of the 88 Ohio counties, and have that county level observer spend the evening at the county BOE.

If you are willing to help, I need some feedback.

1. Can you observe at the county level outside of Franklin County and spend the evening at that Board of Elections? If so, which county would you prefer?

2. Can you observe at the county level outside of Franklin County but not able to observe in the evenings? If so, which county would you prefer?

3. If in Franklin County, please send me the precinct in which you live, or tell me in general, or specifically, which precincts/polling place you would like to be responsible for. A list of polling locations can be found by clicking the link here: http://vote.franklincountyohio.gov/voter/

4. If you are unsure if you can observe, that is OK, just tell me that but give me your polling place/precinct anyway.

Contact me at pete@caseohio.org or 614-946-0614
Pete Johnson, coordinator.

ALSO We need Video the Vote volunteers!

Those interested in videotaping on Election Day have two meetings to attend to learn what is expected and get training. Videocameras can be provided. We also need people to work in the office on Election Day to upload videos.

First workshop is Oct 9 at 7:30p at Whetstone Library branch in Clintonville.

Second is Oct 25 at 7:30p at the MLK Library branch just north of the Franklin Park Conservatory.

Both will cover the same content and are FREE.

JR McMillan

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Come to the Free Press Second Saturday Salon and movie earlier in the day

Saturday, June 9, 2012, 11:30AM
Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?
A new, groundbreaking feature documentary about the roots of the American economic crisis, and the continuing assault on working and middle class people in the United States. “HEIST” unflinchingly reveals the crumbling structure of the U.S. economy – the result of four decades of deregulation, massive job outsourcing, and tax policies favoring mega-corporations and wealthy elites, implemented by both Republican and Democratic parties.
After detailing how the economy has been derailed, HEIST offers a robust Take Action section with real world solutions and up-to-the-minute footage from the Occupy Wall Street movement – an essential primer for everyday Americans to participate in the restoration of economic fairness and our democracy.
Also playing June 14 at 4:30pm.
http://www.Heist-themovie.com
Gateway Film Center, OSU campus
1550 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43201
614.545.2255

______
Saturday, June 9, 2012, 6:30-midnight
Free Press Second Saturday Salon
Join progressive friends to socialize, network, eat, drink, dialog about social justice isssues, and hear music.
1021 E. Broad St., Columbus. East side door, parking in front or rear.
253-2571, truth@freepress.org.

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Fight Back on WCRSFM.org March

Fight Back March 25, 2012

Submitted by fightback on Sun, 03/25/2012 – 8:13pm

Bob Fitrakis talks about rift within the Tea Party

30:00 minutes (27.46 MB)

Fight Back March 1, 2012

Submitted by fightback on Fri, 03/09/2012 – 7:31pm

Bob Fitrakis, Connie Gadell Newton and Connie Harris on the Occupy the Statehouse regional action #1

30:00 minutes (27.47 MB)