David Miller, Director of Communications, February 16, 2018
Powhatan, OH — Yesterday, a gas leak and resulting fire occurred in Belmont County along the Ohio River. The methane gas leak occurred on an XTO well pad on Cat’s Run off of State Route 148 and residents were evacuated for one mile surrounding the well pad. The incident occurred as operators were working to put an idle, formerly drilled and fracked well, back into service.
The following statement can be attributed in part, or in full to Melanie Houston, Director of Climate Programs at the Ohio Environmental Council:
“We continue to investigate the extent of the damage from the well leak and resulting fire and it is clear the area will experience environmental and community health impacts. With the age of this particular well pad, it was not covered by a variety of public safeguards more modern well pads must follow because it was grandfathered in under current laws. In this incident, gas backflowed and caused it to break the blowout preventer, similar to what happened in the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, but at a smaller scale.
“This is yet another wake up call that stronger protections are needed for communities from the risks of oil and gas well pads. As the federal government rolls back protections from methane pollution, it is critical that state-level action is taken to protect Ohioans from these potential dangers.”
The following statement can be attributed in part, or in full, to Carol Davey, Southeast Ohio Regional Director at the Ohio Environmental Council:
“This fire has threatened the safety and health of residents in southeast Ohio, and put families out of their homes. The bottom line is that our communities shouldn’t have to live with the constant worry and threat of fire, explosion or gas leaks near their homes.
“We call for a full investigation of this incident by the Ohio EPA, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and US EPA, and ask state lawmakers to take action to protect our communities from the threat of gas leaks from these well pads.”