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Ohio Utica Shale

Ohio EPA seeking input on drilling permits

By Bob Downing Published: January 8, 2012

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is working to minimize the impact to Ohio waters of tapping deep underground shale while providing the drilling industry with an effective and efficient permitting process.

The agency has issued what's called a draft general permit for wetland and stream impacts at Utica and Marcellus shale gas well sites in eastern Ohio.

It is seeking public comment on the proposal through Friday, Jan. 13.

Under the draft general permits, authorized wetland-stream impacts at each well site are limited to no more than 0.5 acre of low- to medium-quality wetlands and 300 feet of streams.

Qualifying activities include the construction of drilling pads, reserve and mud pits, fresh water and flowback water storage ponds, transmission lines and access roads.

Applicants are required to mitigate any approved wetland and stream impacts by contributing to the preservation, restoration or replacement of Ohio's water resources.

Because the general permit would limit impacts, the EPA could review and decide on a permit within 30 days of receiving a completed application, the agency said.

Applicants wanting to impact larger areas or a high-quality wetlands and streams will need to obtain an individual permit which is subject to a more-detailed review that may last up to six months.

In both cases, applicants will also need approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The EPA says the new permit system is designed to balance environmental protection and the needs of drilling companies.

The draft general permit and related information are available here.

Comments may be submitted to or Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, Attention Permits Processing Unit. P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216.

The permit is expected to be finalized and made available to drillers in early 2012, the EPA says.

It shares responsibility on drilling with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.



See the most recent drilling report and an injection wells map From
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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.