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Ohio Department of Natural Resources objects to House, Senate Bills regarding brine

Legislation would eliminate ODNR's ability to regulate the sale of brine-related products, which the department says contain substances that cause cancer.
(Source: WTOL)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is joining the opposition to legislation that would allow a potentially harmful ice melting product to be sold in retail stores.

House Bill 282 and Senate Bill 171 would eliminate ODNR's oversight of oil and gas brine on Ohio's roads, sidewalks and parking lots, including products made from brine such as AquaSalina. According to the Ohio Brine Task Force, these bills would allow sales to customers without warning them of potential health hazards.

According to the task force, AquaSalina is made from toxic radioactive oil and gas waste called "brine." 

In 2017, ODNR tested brine and the product AquaSalina. Test results showed high levels of Radium 226 and Radium 228. Radium 226 is a bone-seeking cancer-causing isotope which breaks down from Uranium.

ODNR Director Mary Mertz voiced the department's opposition in a letter dated June 22 and addressed to the Senate:

"I am writing to express my serious concerns with HB 282 and its companion SB 171. This legislation would allow the spreading of oilfield brine on roads and other similar surfaces without any tracking of the disposition of the oilfield brine, without the use of registered brine haulers, and without county, township, or municipal corporation approval.

Under HB 282/SB 171, brine that meets certain criteria would be deemed a commodity. Further, this commodity would be exempt from any and all references to brine in the law. By creating this commodity exemption, the legislation creates public safety concerns.

In its third legislative iteration, HB 282/SB 171 does not ensure the protection of public health and safety or the environment.”

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