An update on lawmaker action and other activities at the Ohio Statehouse related to horizontal hydraulic fracturing:
Road Trip: “Hundreds of Ohioans” traveled to Washington, D.C., in July to participate in a gathering titled “Stop the Frack Attack.” The group No Frack Ohio used the occasion to deliver a letter signed by 1,500 Ohioans to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials urging the reclassification of fracking-related wastes as hazardous material, with a need for new standards for dealing with it.
Ohio Rocks: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Geological Survey announced a new license plate, “Ohio Rocks,” touting the state’s geologic features, with proceeds used to encourage youngsters pursuing careers in geology.
Still opposed: In August, the National Taxpayers Union reiterated its opposition to Gov. John Kasich’s plan to increase taxes on oil and gas produced as a result of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, with the proceeds used to implement a corresponding income-tax cut. The group released polling that showed “Ohioans believe the tax would be passed down to them.”
Energy Study: A number of groups gathered near the Statehouse to hear the results of a new study by the Consumer Energy Alliance, which is calling for policy changes that support exploration, protect the environment and reduce burdensome regulations, with an eye toward state and national energy independence.
The meeting last month included comments from Amy Rutledge, Carroll County chamber head, who described the economic boon her community is experiencing from increased oil and gas production.
“That’s the industry buying things locally,” she said. “They’re buying hotel rooms, food, other products. ... Carroll County has less than 30,000 [people] who live in the whole community. To see an increase in your sales tax of $300,000 — that’s significant.”
Local Opposition: Nearly 20 groups from across the state that seek to spotlight the potential environmental, health and economic dangers of fracking announced Aug. 28 that they were working with local officials to adopt resolutions affirming “citizens’ rights to clean water and air.”
“Fracking the shale to extract oil and gas is a highly industrialized process that turns residential and farming communities into industrial zones,” Gwen Fischer, a Hiram resident representing Concerned Citizens Ohio, said in a released statement. “Our communities should have the right to decide what happens in their community and whether or not that is what they want.”
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email
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