Time for common sense change


Recently, at the behest of a concerned Ohio citizen, the U.S. EPA issued a statement confirming that Ohio violates the federal Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act by not mandating that oil and gas companies disclose the contents of chemicals used for drilling operations to emergency planners.

According to the law, emergency planners and local fire departments must be provided that information in order to develop plans for responding to incidents at well sites. As a firefighter, I know that every other industry must comply with this law and I cannot understand why Ohio has given oil and gas a free pass.

Due to the hazards of the job, firefighters already have a 100 percent higher risk of developing cancer than non-firefighters. As vice president and legislative director of the Youngstown Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 312, I worry about exposing my friends and colleagues to even more potentially dangerous material. At the very least, we have the right to know what we may be facing should there be an accident. I urge the state of Ohio to make this common sense change and force oil and gas companies to disclose the chemicals they use, as required by federal law.

— Christopher Weaver, Youngstown