Ohio Gov. John Kasich has signed an executive order prohibiting oil and natural gas production in Lake Erie, creating multiple layers of restrictions on energy production that is already banned by federal legislation.
Kasich signed the executive order after attending Fish Ohio Day in Port Clinton. Kasich tried his luck at fishing with some local anglers and then signed the order during a luncheon. Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director James Zehringer joined Kasich at the signing.
The ODNR “shall be prohibited from issuing any permit, license or lease allowing for the withdrawal or production of oil and gas from or under the bed of Lake Erie,” the executive order stated.
“Lake Erie is just an immensely valuable resource for our state, not only from an environmental standpoint but from an economic standpoint, and you just don’t want to risk it,” Kasich spokesperson Rob Nichols said.
Language in the executive order that prevents drilling in or under the lake is important, Nichols explained, because of advances in horizontal drilling.
“It’s conceivable [in the absence of the executive order] that someone could set up on the banks of Lake Erie and go underneath it,” he said.
Importance of State Decisions
Daniel Simmons, director of regulatory and state affairs at the Institute for Energy Research, says Kasich’s decision to issue the executive order is curious.
“The Canadians have been drilling on their side of the Great Lakes for years with no ill effects,” Simmons explained.
“The governor has been good on drilling in the Utica formation, so he isn’t universally against oil and gas production,” Simmons noted.
“I might disagree with Gov. Kasich’s decision on this, but it is much preferable that the individual states take the steps they think necessary to protect their resources than the federal government. Gov. Kasich understands his state’s needs better than any federal bureaucrat,” Simmons concluded.
Alyssa Carducci ([email protected]) writes from Tampa, Florida.