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Bill from Ohio House Democrats would ban road de-icer made from oil and gas well wastewater

A new bill backed by Democrats in the Ohio House would ban a practice that the state stopped a few months ago – using brine made from water that comes from oil and gas wells to de-ice roads.

It counters a Republican-sponsored bill that could expand availability of that de-icer.

Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) said water from oil and gas wells has radioactive elements in it, which is a problem when it’s made into brine.

“Spreading this radioactive brine on our roads, therefore, threatens surface water and ground water in Ohio," Lightbody said. "This material can be more safely disposed of by inserting it into injection wells.”

Lightbody’s bill would ban the Ohio Department of Natural Resourcesfrom issuing permits for road use of brine made from oil and gas well wastewater.

The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Turnpike announced last summer they would no longer use a de-icer made in Ohio from oil and gas well wastewater and instead make their own brine from tap water and salt.

But the de-icer’s manufacturer says it’s safe, and a Republican-backed bill in the House would allow it to be sold to the general public.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.