A bill that would create rules governing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) passed a key committee in the state House of Representatives on Wednesday and is scheduled to be submitted to the full House for a floor vote on Thursday.
A spokeswoman for Rep. Peter Stautberg (R-Anderson Township) said Substitute Senate Bill 315 passed the House Public Utilities Committee by a 14-8 vote, mostly along partisan lines. She said one Democrat, Rep. Jack Sera (D-Bellaire) joined Republicans and Stautberg, the committee chairman, in passing the bill. The bill passed the Republican-controlled state Senate on May 15 by a 27-6 vote (see Shale Daily, May 17). The House is also controlled by Republicans.
Under the amended bill, operators would be required to identify every water source they could potentially use during their operations and provide an estimate of the rate and volume of water withdrawals. If the operators elect to use recycled water, they must submit an estimate of how much recycled water they will use.
Operators would also be required to sample water wells within 300 feet of proposed drilling operations in urban areas, and within 1,500 feet of new horizontal wells. Applicants for horizontal well permits must also carry at least $5 million in liability insurance coverage, and must enter into road maintenance and use agreements with the appropriate county, township or municipality.
The bill would require operators to identify each additive used and provide a list of the chemicals intentionally used in fracking, but would not be required to disclose their precise formulation or list any chemicals that occur incidentally or in trace amounts. In the event of an emergency, medical personnel could receive the formulation information if necessary for treatment, but would be required to keep the information confidential.
Substitute SB 315 would also allow the chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Oil and Gas Division to enter into cooperative agreements with other state agencies for advice and consultation on oil and gas issues. The bill also sets a maximum of 60 days for any time extension request for reports, test results, fees or other documents.