'Poisoned waters' billboard sparks Ohio well fight

By

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An eastern Ohio man who uses a biblical reference and a statement against "poisoned waters" on billboards opposing a deep-injection well is facing a legal threat from the well's Texas operator.

Austin, Texas-based Buckeye Brine alleges in a July lawsuit that the billboards paid for by Michael Boals of Coshocton (kuh-SHAHK'-tuhn) contain false and defamatory attacks against its well, which disposes of contaminated wastewater from oil and gas drilling.

Boals refuses to pull the billboards. The 55-year-old Boals says stating the wells "pump poisoned waters" underfoot is true. An environmental legal group argues quoting prophecy from Revelation — on men dying from waters "made bitter" — is Boals' free-speech right.

The company says its well is safe and legal and the messages are misleading. It's taken its complaint to the sign owner.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.