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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Court issues restraining order against fracking waste-storage facility

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Friday, April 26, 2024   

Environmental groups say more should be done to protect people's health from what they call toxic, radioactive sludge.

A court granted a temporary restraining order against Austin Master Services, a fracking waste-storage facility in Martin's Ferry, at the request of Ohio Attorney General David Yost.

Ohio has some of the least-restrictive rules on fracking waste, said Jill Hunkler, director of the local advocacy group Ohio Valley Allies. She said this makes communities "dumping grounds" for the byproducts of fracking, and residents are often left to educate themselves on the risks of living near fracking operations and waste sites.

"We can see firsthand how dangerous these facilities were and how poorly they were operating," she said, "and right within 500 feet of the drinking water supply for 5 million people, which is the Ohio River."

At a city council meeting, residents voiced their concerns about water-supply safety and ongoing health risks for neighboring communities.

In a legal complaint, the AG's office said the Martin's Ferry facility has exceeded the amount of waste it's permitted to store by thousands of tons.

Austin Master Services could not be reached for comment. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources maintains there's no evidence the waste has affected public health.

Hunkler said a judge ordered Austin Master Services to clean up the excess waste at a recent hearing, but the company said it didn't have the money to do so.

"It's just a very good example of the failure here to adequately regulate and enforce and protect the communities from this toxic industry," she added.

According to Food and Water Watch, fracking waste contains a mixture of heavy metals, brines, volatile organic compounds, carcinogens and naturally occurring radioactive contaminants. Yale University research has linked exposure to some of these substances to reproductive and developmental problems.


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