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Ohio A.G. seeks tougher fracking laws

Feb. 9, 2012 at 12:51 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says he wants the state General Assembly to impose higher fines for pollution violations in the state's oil and gas industry.

DeWine, a Republican, also called for more disclosure of chemicals used in "fracking," the drilling process of hydraulic fracturing, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

DeWine said the pollution fines should be increased to at least $10,000 a day. The current maximum is $2,500 to $20,000 per incident, depending on the violation. He said other states, including Pennsylvania and New York, impose per-day civil penalties.

"Ohio's clearly out of the mainstream in these penalties," he told The Dispatch. "My recommendation to the General Assembly is that these laws be changed."

DeWine urged "full disclosure" of chemicals put into the ground during fracking, the drilling process in which millions of gallons of water mixed with industrial chemicals are injected into shale wells to fracture the shale and push oil and gas to the surface.

Landowners leasing property to energy company should receive coverage under the state's consumer-protection law, he said.

"There's no one place in the state where [property owners] can go if they have a problem, if they want some sort of mediation," DeWine said.

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