Catching up on area fracking news
According to the Wheeling Intelligencer, it was a blast and a fire
The headline read:
Two Hospitalized Following Blast at Dallas Pike Truck Cleaning Facility
This is what happened according to the Intelligencer:
Two people were transported to Wheeling Hospital with burns following a Monday evening explosion and fire at a truck cleaning facility in Dallas Pike.
Lou Vargo, director of the Wheeling-Ohio County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said a report of an explosion was called into the Ohio County 911 Emergency Service around 8 p.m. Monday. When emergency crews arrived on the scene, the cleaning facility was fully engulfed in flames. . . .
“We do know they were in the process of cleaning one of the tanker trucks,” Vargo said. “They said they were going through the process of cleaning (the truck) with chemicals when it ignited and caused an explosion. But we don’t know the cause yet.”
For DeSmog, it was a whole lot more
After investigating, here is how DeSmog headlined the incident:
Fire at Oil and Gas Waste Site Raises Safety Concerns Around Possible Radioactive Accidents
The article begins:
Initial news reports described the facility — located in Dallas Pike, 50 miles southwest of Pittsburgh — as a truck stop cleaning station. However, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) confirmed to DeSmog that the facility, which the agency says is owned and operated by Ohio-based company Petta Enterprises, does a lot more than clean trucks: It processes oil and gas waste. And the agency confirmed that it was the volatile nature of this waste — transported inside trucks arriving at the site — that helped cause the blaze.
The blast raises concerns about the risk to health and the environment from waste processing facilities like this which continue to pop up around the Marcellus and Utica shale region, not just in West Virginia, but also Ohio and Pennsylvania. Community members, advocacy groups, and some industry workers fear that the government, whether local, state, or federal, is not properly regulating or monitoring the toxic and radioactive waste produced from fracking and being processed at sites like the Dallas Pike facility.
Contrasted with our local news report, this well-developed article raises serious concerns about how West Virginia is dealing with fracking waste.
Has fracking really improved our local economy?
Earlier this month, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on a just-released study by the Ohio River Valley Institute titled:
Fracking Counties Economic Impact Report
As the P-G summarized the report:
In the last decade, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio produced a tsunami of natural gas that exceeded even the most optimistic projections. That wealth of gas was supposed to translate into newly thriving local economies.
According to a report released Wednesday by the Ohio River Valley Institute, the local renaissance never happened.
Instead, counties that pumped out nearly all of the Appalachian region’s natural gas lagged on traditional measures of local prosperity: They had less personal income and job growth than the states as a whole and the nation over that time period, and their populations declined.
“It is a case of economic growth without prosperity, the defining characteristic of the resource curse,” the institute said.
During the Appalachian fracking boom, WV's most productive natural gas counties:— Ohio River Valley Institute (@O_R_V_I) February 17, 2021
-saw population fall by 5.2%
-saw jobs grow by only 4%, less than half the national average
-saw personal income grow by only 10.5%, less than half the national averagehttps://t.co/goFHwoXT8W pic.twitter.com/IKzmMTdchF
Yesterday’s Intelligencer did carry a story on the report:
Local Officials Discuss Benefits of Oil and Gas in Region
There were 627 words in the article of which 77 were used to briefly explain what the study found:
The institute report states that some of the largest natural gas producing counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have seen declines in their share of jobs, income and population. The study states that while the national number of jobs increased by 10 percent, jobs in the 22 counties in the three states that produce more than 90 percent of the region's natural gas only increased by 1.7 percent. The full report can be viewed at OhioRiverValleyInstitue.org.*
The remaining 550 words featured officials praising the gas industry. This is what passes for “balance” in Wheeling papers.
*It was probably accidental, but if you follow the paper's link, you will not find the report because "Institute" has three t's in it, not two. Here is the correct link.