Update on fracking action at statehouse

By Marc Kovac


An update on lawmaker action and other activities at the Ohio Statehouse related to horizontal hydraulic fracturing:

Economic Impact: On Oct. 23, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy touted what it called a first-of-its-kind study of the economic impact of shale energy development, with big benefits estimated from fracking-related activities.

The study projected that 1.75 million jobs already have been created in the industry, with millions more projected over the next two decades.

Additionally, “In 2012, shale energy is responsible for $62 billion in tax revenue,” according to the study.

Between now and 2035, shale energy development is expected to contribute more than $2.5 trillion in total tax revenue — more than half of which will go to states and localities.

Overall, between now and 2035, the energy industry will invest more than $5.1 trillion in energy development.”

The study is available online at www.energyxxi.org/americas-energy-future.

Still Pushing: Gov. John Kasich continues to push for an increase in taxes from oil and gas production from horizontal hydraulic fracturing, voicing optimism Oct. 24 that lawmakers would consider his severance-tax proposal during the lame-duck session.

Petitions: The national Environmental Integrity Project announced Oct. 24 that it was joining more than a dozen like-minded groups to petition the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to require more disclosure of chemicals used in horizontal hydraulic fracturing. They want oil and gas producers to report to the Toxics Release Inventory, providing greater public access to the information.

“The EPA estimates the oil and gas industry releases 127,000 tons of hazardous air pollutants every year, second only to power plants and more than any of the other industries already reporting to TRI,” Eric Schaeffer, director of the Environmental Integrity Project, said in a released statement. “Why shouldn’t oil and gas companies be required to report these toxic releases under our right-to-know laws, like so many other industries already do?”

Next Year? Republican Senate President Tom Niehaus told Statehouse reporters Oct. 30 that legislative action on the governor’s frack-tax proposal likely would not happen until the new session.

“We’re just going to start the process of having some conversations to see what, if anything, can be enacted in lame duck, or whether it’s something that we would carry over into next year,” he said.

“There is some talk of a more comprehensive tax-reform package for next year. ... There’s no immediate revenue issue that would dictate that we enact that tax today versus, say, three months from now, so it’s not a pressing timeliness issue from that standpoint.”

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