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Drilling Bill Passes Ohio Senate

The Falls of the Ohio River

The Falls of the Ohio River (Photo credit: www78)

Ohio senators approved regulations for horizontal shale drilling on Tuesday in a bipartisan vote.

State Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) urged fellow lawmakers to get drilling moving. “Folks, we’re sitting on a mountain of money,” he said. “People who have been poor as church mice for 150 years are now going to be the latter-day Jed Clampetts.”

The energy bill cleared the chamber. It adjusts Ohio’s renewable energy standard, which set a timetable for utilities to meet usage thresholds, to include waste heat such as that generated from factory smokestacks.

Supporters say the bill balances environment, public health, and commerce by expanding chemical disclosure and water testing requirements. It goes next to the Ohio House.

The bill requires well operators to disclose the site from which they’ll draw water for blasting into the well to release oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids.

The legislation also requires well operators to disclose all chemicals that will come into contact with human water supplies during the drilling operation. Water samples must also be taken at all wells within 1,500 feet of any proposed horizontal well.

No Frack Ohio, a coalition of anti-drilling groups, said such provisions won’t help the public because reports won’t be prompt or specific. They said the oil and gas industry wrote the bill, which benefits them at the expense of Ohio residents.

Critics said the bill ignores disposal of wastewater from fracking. Disposal of the millions of gallons of chemical-laced water used in the fracking process has been tied to a series of earthquakes in the Youngstown area.

Ignoring this threat, Sen. Shannon Jones, the bill’s sponsor, said wastewater regulations would be addressed in separate legislation.

Via Business Week.

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