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Critics cry foul over Ohio frack proposals

May 17, 2012 at 8:19 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 17 (UPI) -- A measure passed by the Ohio Senate on hydraulic fracturing falls short of what's needed for responsible environmental oversight, an advocacy group said.

Ohio lawmakers, in bipartisan fashion, passed new regulations on shale drilling. They call on the oil and natural gas industry to disclose the origin, rate and volume of water used for drilling in the state's rich shale deposits. It mandates the disclosure of chemicals that could come in contact with drinking water sources. It doesn't require a specific ingredient mix, however.

"Ohio has a great opportunity to be leader in our country by crafting a comprehensive energy policy with the goal of making energy more affordable and Ohio more energy independent," said Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives.

Matt Watson, senior energy policy manager for the Environmental Defense Fund, said the measure falls short of what's needed for responsible oil and natural gas production.

"There's a lot of nasty stuff that goes down a well during drilling and production," he said in a statement.

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

There were concerns that tremors reported in the Youngstown area were linked to natural gas production but the Ohio Department of Natural Resources suggested fluid from a disposal well intersected a previously unknown fault, causing a small quake.

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