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Letter to the Editor

Editor’s note: Robert Murray, president and CEO of Murray Energy Corp., has penned this letter to Belmont County commissioners concerning two proposed wastewater injection wells in Richland Township.

Dear commissioners:

We are writing in regard to an issue a very great concern to our county, Especially to all of us residing or doing business in Richland Township, including Murray Energy Corp. We are speaking of the planned siting of two brine wastewater injection wells in Richland Township near Interstate 70 and U.S. 40. These proposed disposal Wells would be operated by a virtually unknown New Jersey company now calling itself Omni Energy LLC, formed on Jan. 15, 2019, and registered to do business in Ohio in March 2019.

Murray Energy has invested considerable time and resources to analyze Omni’s plan. The Richland Township Board of Trustees, and many concerned citizens, also have reviewed Omni’s proposal in-depth and have understandably come out very strongly against it. We join them and wholeheartedly agree that this urbanized area, which is adjacent to a very busy intersection, is the worst possible location for these wells. More than 200 trucks per day will enter and leave the site and travel U.S. 40 to and from I-70, exit 215. The proposed site is also very near a pre-school, a school, a church, county offices, a university, many businesses, dangerous intersections, and quiet residential neighborhoods.

One-hundred homes are within one-half of a mile of the site in 300 homes are within one mile. The waste hauled to the site is so toxic that the truck drivers wear masks and other protective equipment. Although the injection wells are supposed to be cased with cement to protect our groundwater sources from frack fluid chemicals and radioactive waste from flow-back water, Omni has no track record to support an assumption that the wells will be constructed properly and operated safely. This is simply too big of a risk to take in a populated area.

Who is going to provide masks to our children and their families while millions of gallons of waste are hauled in day after day from eastern states that prohibit injection wells?

The Richland Township Trustees are asking you to support their stand against the sighting of these injection wells. I urge the board to unanimously resolve to support the township trustees and actively join them in opposing these wells by urging Gov. Michael DeWine to direct the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to deny any permits or agreements that Omni seeks. Murray Energy, and the undersigned, will offer whatever support is needed to persuade the state regulators to deny the required permits to Omni, or otherwise relocate these wells.

Your immediate attention to this threat to our community is greatly appreciated.

Robert E. Murray

Murray Energy Corp.

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