Ohio Enacts Fracking Restrictions

Published July 10, 2012

Ohio lawmakers have enacted new restrictions on hydraulic fracturing, creating the most stringent law in the nation. 

The House voted in favor of the restrictions 73-19, and the Senate approved the bill by a vote of 21 to 8. Gov. John Kasich (R) signed it into law on June 11. 

Content of New Requirements

Under the new measure, horizontal well drilling will be subjected to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) permitting and regulatory system. Among the new requirements, energy companies must report the sources of all water used for fracking operations, ODNR will sample water in the vicinity of fracking sites, energy producers must report the content of all fracking fluids to ODNR, and ODNR will post oil and gas production permits on its website for public review.

Energy Producers on Board

The Ohio Petroleum Council (OPC), an industry association of energy producers, expressed support for the new law. 

“The legislation was vetted through a thorough process and included compromises by both the industry and legislators. Throughout the process, the oil and natural gas industry stated its support for strong regulations that, in addition to promoting safe operations, create certainty within Ohio’s regulatory structure for continued shale exploration and development in the Utica shale,” said OPC executive director Terry Fleming.

Renewable energy competitors to oil and natural gas production also support the new law.

“Gov. Kasich should be applauded for his leadership in developing a comprehensive state energy plan that will help Ohio’s advanced energy industry grow,” said Kimberly Gibson, executive director of Advanced Energy Economy Ohio. “This law strikes the right balance between preserving current advanced energy markets and expanding opportunities for waste energy recovery and combined heat and power—two technologies key to improving Ohio’s manufacturing competitiveness. This balanced approach will help maximize job creation, spur investment, and expand the state’s manufacturing base.” 

Alyssa Carducci ([email protected]) writes from Tampa, Florida.