Ohio city to toxic waste company: Don’t dump on us!

BY: Alex Robbins| October 12, 2023
Ohio city to toxic waste company: Don’t dump on us!


CPUSA comrades joined other Coshocton residents to repudiate Buckeye Brine’s reckless disregard for the well-being of the community living on the land from which the company has extracted its wealth. Over 60 residents participated in a protest to raise awareness of the hazards Coshocton County faces as Buckeye Brine transports wastewater from the clean-up of the toxic chemicals spilled by the train-derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. This wastewater from East Palestine is to be injected in the recently upgraded class-one injection wells nestled snugly next to the aquifer that provides the residents of Coshocton City with clean drinking water.

The organizers of the protest, members of Coshocton Environmental Community Awareness (CECA), are community activists who have been fighting to protect the local environment from fracking and injection wells for years. As the protesters gathered in the early morning, CECA members explained the background of the wastewater threat. The original plan for the wastewater was to have it treated and dumped in Baltimore, Maryland. However, the city of Baltimore was able to reject the wastewater in light of the potential environmental fallout that could result from dumping the waste in its sewers. Unfortunately for the people of Coshocton, they have a conservative government that has fought tooth and nail to make Coshocton “attractive” to businesses and investment for decades while capital flight ravaged the town’s economy. As a result, Coshocton residents do not have the same protections that Baltimore’s elected officials have provided to their constituents.

On the front page of their website, Buckeye Brine posted a carefully worded statement addressing the concerns of the community. The statement is certainly in response to the protests being organized by CECA. But at no point does Buckeye Brine say that the material is not hazardous or that they are confident that there will be no contamination. Their lawyers probably know better than to let them explicitly say that the wells are safe or that the risk of contamination is low, because they know that the wells are not safe. There will always be the risk of contamination. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to fund testing in the freshwater drinking wells of Ohio residents that have been contaminated by injection wells. These freshwater wells can be miles away from the injection wells, but they’re still at risk of contamination.

The logic used by Buckeye Brine in their statement is the same used by every company that is currently ravaging our planet. They claim that they are following the regulations of the Ohio and Federal EPAs. But through industrial lobbying efforts, these organizations and the regulations they enforce have been hamstrung. For example, the genesis of this very debate is a train derailment in East Palestine, caused by transportation industry efforts to gut and impede safety regulations that would have affected their bottom line. That tactic of lobbying to impede regulatory agencies and then turning to the public when the predictable disaster happens and saying, “we followed regulations, it’s not our fault” is the kind of abusive logic being perpetrated in Buckeye Brine’s statement. If the oil and gas industries have Swiss-cheesed the regulations meant to protect the community of Coshocton, then those residents have every right to protest and raise hell.

What makes matters worse for the people of Coshocton is that their own aquifer carries a high risk for contamination, as has been reported by the Coshocton Utilities Department. A 2020 consumer report explicitly states that “the aquifer that supplies drinking water to the city of Coshocton has a high susceptibility to contamination due to the sensitive nature of the aquifer in which the drinking water well is located and the existing potential contaminant sources identified.” This aquifer is not even five minutes from the Buckeye Brine class-one injection well. This is why the community is so concerned, and it is also why Buckeye Brine felt the urgent need to respond to public criticism.

When asked, participants of the protest and the CECA members explained that it is probably too late to stop the wastewater from being dumped in Coshocton. Apparently, there is no real legal framework in the city or county for stopping Buckeye Brine from injecting the waste water into the ground. Buckeye Brine has taken its money and does not care about the potential consequences that future generations of Coshocton residents will face. CECA’ s current plan is to fight for regulations that:

  1. will chase Buckeye Brine out of the community through taxation and
  2. will provide the community with a legal path to blocking future attempts by capitalists to use Coshocton County as a dumping ground for industrial waste.

CPUSA members here in southeast Ohio will continue to fight alongside our community to protect our environment because, at the end of the day, it is the working class that is the true stakeholder in this struggle. It is always the working class that must pay the price for the negligence and malfeasance of the capitalists.

Image: photo by Coshocton Environmental and Community Awareness, Inc. (Facebook)


Related Party Voices Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer