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LEGAL UPDATE: Ohio legislators approve tougher oil and gas well regulations

On Thursday, May 24, the Ohio House and the Senate approved Senate Bill 315, an energy bill with provisions regulating the drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of new oil and gas wells in the state. The bill will now be headed to the desk of Gov. John Kasich for review, following a vote of 73-19 in the Ohio House and a 21-8 vote in the Senate. Some highlights of Senate Bill 315 include:

  • Increased disclosure of chemicals used in initial drilling and the hydraulic fracturing of wells from operators
  • Sampling of water wells within 1,500 feet of proposed horizontal wells Documentation and tracking of oil and gas wells from the time of inception to capping
  • Disclosure of brine and other waste fluid shipments prior to injection into disposal wells
  • Increased inspections of wells and liability insurance coverage for well owners
  • Amendments enabling property owners, adjacent property owners or others adversely affected by fracking fluids to seek more detailed information about the proprietary chemical mixtures on a case-by-case basis
  • Sharing of proprietary information by doctors when treating patients injured during well construction or production with other medical providers, health agencies and patient
  • Daily fines of up to $20,000/day for well operators violating safety and health regulations
  • Posting oil and gas permits online for public review within two days of approval of the permits

In addition to drilling and fracking provisions, the bill addresses the state’s energy laws, with language related to advanced and renewable energy, water conservation and wastewater treatment. For questions or concerns about how this might affect Marcellus Shale businesses in the region, contact the Burns White Energy Group.