An update on lawmaker action and other activities at the Ohio Statehouse related to horizontal hydraulic fracturing:
Quakes: Rep. Bob Hagan of Youngs-town, D-58th, a vocal critic of the state’s fracking-related policies, voiced concern after an article in The Science Journal that detailed “the increase in earthquakes due to deep well injection of fracking wastewater.”
A series of earthquakes in Youngstown was attributed to an injection well.
Said Hagan, “We have to take a more proactive approach to ensure that we are going about the complete fracking process in a safe and responsible way. There is no harm in slowing down to examine scientific research to see what we can do better in our state. We are at the forefront of oil and gas exploration in Ohio. There’s no reason our safety and regulatory practices shouldn’t be cutting edge as well.”
Hagan again: Hagan followed up on those comments with a letter to Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-13th, urging him to co-sponsor legislation to ensure oil and gas waste is disposed of responsibly.
“This federal legislation is a key piece in the quest for greater transparency from the fracking industry,” he said in a released statement. “The more we know, the better we can fight to protect our families from harmful chemicals and toxins.”
Contested: Conservation advocates urged federal officials to block plans to sell oil and gas leases in Ohio’s Blue Rock State Forest.
The federal government controls the mineral rights for the 4,578-acre forest in Muskingum County.
“Blue Rock State Forest is a natural treasure that belongs to all Ohioans,” Nathan Johnson, staff attorney at Buckeye Forest Council, said in a released statement. “We are stunned the [Bureau of Land Management] would attempt to frack our forest without making sure citizens and state government had a chance to respond to the plan and make their concerns known.”