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Ohio Utica Shale

Bills would deal with chemicals in fracking liquids

By Bob Downing Published: October 6, 2012

From the Youngstown-based Business Journal:

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- State Rep. Robert F. Hagan, D-Youngstown, and state Sen. Michael J. Skindell, D-Lakewood, have introduced companion legislation addressing the concerns of many Ohioans regarding the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing by the oil and gas industry.

The bills, House Bill 596 and Senate Bill 379, propose to reverse the gag order that was placed on medical professionals through SB 315, and expand the reporting requirements for oil and gas well permits.

“It’s bad public health policy for legislators to take prescriptions from the oil and gas industry, and that’s exactly what they did when writing the gag order,” said Hagan in a prepared statement. “Ohioans would be better served by doctors deciding what is right for their patients, not by oil and gas executives trying to suppress vital medical information. We certainly don’t use family physicians to operate rotary rigs, so I don’t see why we should let oil tycoons decide what kind of information is medically necessary.”

The legislation would also expand how medical professionals can access the chemical information they need to properly treat their patients.

Additionally, if enacted, the bills would broaden the reasons for which a medical professional can request this information and the ways in which a patient can be deemed adversely affected.

"It's the responsibility of state lawmakers to protect the health and well being of Ohioans and that's why I am calling for full disclosure of the chemicals used in gas and oil drilling,” said Skindell. “Doctors need to know what chemicals are being used so they can treat their patients. We can't allow corporate secrets to endanger public safety."

The bills provide that at the onset of the application process, the owner of a well disclose all chemical information used in both well stimulation and well drilling. Owners would also be expected to supply the Ohio Department of Natural Resources with a full list of chemicals, including those deemed to be proprietary. Specific chemical information that these bills would require to be reported is as follows:

  • The chemical’s name, the chemical abstracts service number, the chemical family name, the trade name and the vendor.
  • A brief description of the chemical’s intended use or function.
  • The proposed quantity to be used, reported as a percentage, by weight or volume, of the total fluid.

Ultimately, the legislation would centralize all chemical information, including proprietary information, with the chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Such a database would allow medical professionals to have timely access from a single source, the legislators said.

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