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Ohio Utica Shale

ProPublica: Ohio takes a muted approach to drilling rules

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2014

From ProPublica today:

In Fracking Hotbed, a Muted Approach to Regulation

Last year, Ohio legislators had an opportunity to better monitor the state's vast amounts of toxic fracking material, much of it brought into Ohio from neighboring states. However, despite calls to require rigorous testing for contamination, Gov. John Kasich and the state legislature signed off on measures that require just a fraction of the waste to be subjected to such oversight,
ProPublica's Naveena Sadasivam reports.

Environmentalists claim the modest move is colored by the state's interest in promoting fracking. Oil and gas drilling is big business in Ohio, responsible for tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investments, Sadasivam writes. And being able to easily dump fracking waste within Ohio spares drilling operators one of their greatest expenses -- trucking the waste elsewhere.

Key takeaways from Sadasivam's report:

  • Radioactive waste is produced at almost every step of the natural gas extraction process. And as operators access newer shale reserves, which produce higher levels of radium than conventional oil and gas reserves, the risk is only heightened.
  • The legislature, lobbied by the fracking industry, undid the governor's bid to have waste testing handled by the state's Department of Health -- the agency said to possess the most expertise with radioactive material. The testing now falls to the Department of Natural Resources, the agency that oversees inspection of oil and gas drilling sites, but that has no track record for dealing with radioactive waste.
  • While neighboring states are more vigorously regulating the disposal of fracking waste, Ohio has become a popular dump site. In 2013, three municipal landfills in Ohio received over 100,000 tons of solid fracking waste. Those very facilities handled no more than 15,000 tons in 2011.

Read her full report here - It's free to reprint under ProPublica's Creative Commons license.



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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.