Ohio EPA fast-tracks pollution permits for shale-gas companies
Some environmental groups and eastern Ohio residents say the state is hurrying permits for gas processing plants amid the shale drilling boom.
They say fast-tracking some permit requests prevents examination of local concerns about air and water pollution from refineries and the fracking process that frees the gas. Ohio Environmental Council lobbyist Jack Shaner says the state is bending over backward to accommodate the industry.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that demands for a public hearing in Mahoning County on a refinery permit application last year for the Hickory Bend processing plant in New Middletown were rejected by officials trying to avoid lengthy delays. Instead, the company got its permit in about four months.
State environmental officials say they are taking the right steps to protect residents and the environment. Operations with major pollution issues undergo much more scrutiny.
See the front page of Sunday’s Vindicator for a more complete version of this story.