New York Times reports on a gas exploration boom in Ohio.
The boom has been met by a burst of state regulation.
This year, Ohio rewrote state regulations for wastewater disposal from oil and gas fields after earthquakes occurred around a deep wastewater injection well in Youngstown. The state legislature also approved a bill, which the governor is expected to sign this week, that strengthens standards for building oil and gas wells to prevent leaks into underground water supplies, requires companies to disclose the chemicals they use in every stage of production, and mandates that companies test water supplies close to new drilling sites.
The boom also was met by a savvy former Democratic legislator and lawyer who organized landowners in one region of the state.
Working with a lawyer in nearby Marietta, the residents were able to band together to negotiate an unusually lucrative deal with the company that paid $4,000 an acre and 19 percent royalties on oil and gas production, and included safeguards to protect water and land. (The standard has been $20 to $30 an acre, one-sixth royalty rates, and no protections for water and land.)
Note that phrase about protection of water and land, an alien concept to many fracking cheerleaders in Arkansas. (Hell, Arkie cheerleaders don’t even want to make the gas companies pay enough to cover road damage.) The ex-legislator’s lease deals, says the Times,
… also contain provisions for testing before and after drilling occurs to make sure that none of the chemicals used in the production process have contaminated drinking water. The leases bar energy companies from drawing water for hydrofracking from any water source on the leaseholder’s land — provisions that go beyond existing Ohio regulations.
Republican Gov. John Kasich wants to raise the severance tax and has a business group’s study that says it won’t deter shale development. A business group likes a tax increase. Yes, because Kasich would use the gas revenue to cut income taxes.