Innovation Ohio has called for for a number of changes to the state’s oil and gas laws in anticipation of a shale exploration boom in Ohio. Among our recommendations are laws aimed at protecting the state’s environment and infrastructure from fracking, specifically:
Yesterday, Governor Kasich’s administration introduced its changes to Ohio’s fracking laws, in the form of new legislation—SB315 (full text)—sponsored by Senator Shannon Jones. In terms of addressing the concerns raised by Innovation Ohio, the bill represents a hit and several misses.
The Kasich fracking policy adopts, nearly word for word, Innovation Ohio’s recommendation to require drillers to conduct baseline testing of local water supplies within 1,500 feet of planned fracking sites (Sec. 1509.06(A) of SB315). We applaud the administration for incorporating our recommendation into their legislation. Baseline tests will be greatly helpful to landowners and residents seeking to determine whether the presence of contaminates in water supplies can be associated with the onset of nearby drilling.
The Kasich policy falls short of our recommendation—and the Governor’s past promise—for disclosure of fracking chemicals.
Lawmakers must take action to close these loopholes to ensure Ohio has a meaningful policy on the public disclosure of fracking chemicals.
Finally, the policy proposals contained in SB315 do nothing for local governments dealing with the impacts of fracking.
In addition to these considerations, IO has called for Ohio to adopt a more competitive severance tax rate on oil and gas companies. We have previously commented on the administration’s proposal, introduced last week, to raise (slightly) Ohio’s taxes on oil and gas drilling and use the proceeds to fund an income tax cut. You can see our analysis of Kasich’s tax proposals here.