Last week Gov. John Kasich signed into law Senate Bill 315, legislation that strengthens regulations for Ohio’s oil and gas industry.
Introduced by Sen. Shannon Jones (R – Springboro), the bill establishes a regulatory framework for overseeing technologies allowing exploration of natural gas in deep shale rock formations, as well as other energy issues.
The measure establishes stringent disclosure requirements regarding the fluid used in oil and gas well operations. It also increases civil and criminal penalties for well operators who fail to comply with the new safety standards, and fosters collaboration by encouraging companies and local government to enter into agreements regarding the maintenance of roads and highways used during production.
“Clearly, expanded energy development holds potential for new opportunities and potential investments to bolster Ohio’s economy,” Jones said. “These reforms allow us to pursue promising avenues for job creation while also protecting Ohio’s environment, communities and residents.”
Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) Director of State Policy Beth Vanderkooi said Farm Bureau had particular interest in parts of the bill dealing with alternative energy, renewable credits and gas pipeline changes.
“There was also an amendment in the bill that was added late in the process that makes changes to how the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) regulates anhydrous ammonia and other fertilizers,” Vanderkooi said. “Once we became aware of the amendment, OFBF raised concerns there are some unintended consequences.”
She said a corrective amendment was placed in another piece of legislation to attempt to fix the changes. However, the House did not pass the bill before the Senate adjourned for summer recess. OFBF will be working to ensure the amendment is adopted in a timely manner when the legislature returns in the fall.
“Senate Bill 315 won’t be effective for 90 days,” Vanderkooi said. “If the amendment is adopted relatively quickly in the fall there won’t be very much overlap.”
Read Senate Bill 315