Keep feds out of shale, Ohio leader says

Feb. 28, 2012 at 7:45 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Keeping the U.S. government out of shale natural gas developments in Ohio will help transform the regional economy, a lawmaker stated.

Ohio hosts portions of the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, two of the richest shale natural gas deposits in the United States.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, told a House committee that state law has governed the shale natural gas sector for more than 60 years and there was no reason to transfer that authority to the federal government.

"We have an opportunity to usher in a new era of American exceptionalism with Ohio energy development if only the federal government stays out of the way," he said.

Washington is considering measures that would govern aspects of hydraulic fracturing, the process used to extract natural resources from shale deposits.

House leaders said hydraulic fracturing is used in most shale wells.

"By encouraging policies that provide regulatory certainty for the energy industry and foster the development of natural gas, there is the potential for all communities to enjoy these same benefits from energy production," Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., chairman of the subcommittee on energy and natural resources, said in a statement.

Critics of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, say chemicals used during the process could contaminate water supplies.

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