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State oil and gas regulators have approved plans for new disposal wells for “fracking” waste, the first since a series of earthquakes shook Youngstown in December.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources signed off on permits to allow four such wells, one each in Athens and Portage counties and two in Washington County, last week. The agency is mulling applications to build another 30 disposal wells.
The state put a delay on new well approvals after the quakes, including a 4.0 magnitude temblor on Dec. 31, were linked to a disposal well that had been voluntarily shut down.
Agency spokeswoman Heidi Hetzel-Evans said a new set of safety rules that took effect on Oct. 1 should help prevent future problems.
Environmental advocates, including a group that staged a protest at an operating Athens County injection well yesterday, called the safeguards weak...