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

Published: Fri, November 2, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

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

Intimidation: On Oct. 2, Democratic state Rep. Mark Okey, of Carrollton, voiced opposition to Chesapeake Energy’s land-leasing tactics, calling the company’s land men “the most aggressive — and sometimes deceptive — in securing leases” for oil and gas development.

Okey used the occasion to build support for legislation he has introduced at the Statehouse, House Bill 493, which would provide landowners with protections and minimum royalties from such leases.

New poll: Hunters and other sportsmen voiced more support for protecting public lands than for using such sites for fossil-fuel production, according to a poll released by the National Wildlife Federation. A total of 49 percent said they wanted to protect public lands, compared with 35 percent who favored oil, gas and coal production.

Right to know: Democratic state Rep. Bob Hagan, of Youngstown, D-60th, and Sen. Mike Skindell, of the Cleveland area, introduced legislation in early October that would expand disclosure requirements for chemicals used in fracking.

“It’s bad public-health policy for legislators to take prescriptions from the oil and gas industry, and that’s exactly what they did when writing the gag order,” Hagan said in a released statement.

“Ohioans would be better served by doctors deciding what is right for their patients, not by oil and gas executives trying to suppress vital medical information. We certainly don’t use family physicians to operate rotary rigs, so I don’t see why we should let oil tycoons decide what kind of information is medically necessary.”

Natural-gas vehicles: Gov. John Kasich, Public Utilities Chairman Todd Snitchler and others gathered in Columbus for a first-of-its-kind summit to promote the state’s use of natural-gas-powered vehicles.

Kasich called on business leaders to embrace the vehicles in their operations, given natural-gas supplies from horizontal hydraulic fracturing and other economic factors.

“It’s Ohioans who are going to be working in the fields, getting the gas out of the ground,” Snitchler said.

“It’s folks that are building the cars and working in the automotive industry already, and it’s folks that are buying those vehicles and using them across the state and across the region.”

Protest: More than 50 people staged a protest at Quail Hollow State Park in Stark County to draw attention to “unitization,” a decades-old state law that “allows oil and gas companies to force unwilling property owners to surrender land to drilling and fracking.”

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