Governor signs law for new drilling rules in Ohio
(Akron, Ohio, Beacon Journal; June 12) - Gov. John Kasich signed sweeping energy legislation June 11 that includes tough rules on drilling for natural gas and oil in Ohio. The new rules cover well construction, disclosure of fracking chemicals and water-usage reporting.
Drillers must test neighbors' drinking water wells within 1,500 feet of a natural gas well. Previously, only wells within 500 feet had to be tested before drilling could begin. Drillers must also reveal where they are getting fresh water for hydraulic fracturing, something not previously required. The bill encourages well operators to negotiate road agreements with communities, allows appeals to the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission for certain drilling operations and calls for daily fines of up to $20,000 for violations.
The new law also requires listing most chemicals and additives in drilling solutions. Some environmental groups are unhappy, however, with provisions of the bill that allow some chemicals to remain trade secrets and prohibit medical personnel from publicly disclosing any chemical-exposure issues. There are also new rules on injection wells used to pump drilling wastes into underground rock formations.