Target: Ohio House of Representatives Public Utilities Committee
Goal: To support environmental groups as they urge the Ohio House of Representatives to vote down the state’s new drilling rules.
The Ohio Senate passed a bill last week that outlines new regulations for horizontal shale drilling in the state. Dozens of environmentalists testified yesterday before the House Public Utilities Committee in order to express concerns that the bill doesn’t go far enough in placing restrictions on Ohio’s developing shale drilling industry.
The new regulations require that well operators disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking), which involves injecting water and chemicals into the ground to break apart rock and release natural gas or oil. However, the reports will come only after wells have already been drilled and will therefore likely do little to reduce the environmental damage and groundwater contamination incurred in the process.
The bill similarly requires well operators to disclose the location from which they draw water for blasting as well as the rate and volume at which it will be withdrawn. But the language of the bill specifies that operators may report data only “to the best of their knowledge.” Such loopholes in the regulations result in softer restrictions for the drilling companies and weaken the bill’s environmental protection provisions. Sign the petition below to express your support for the testimonies presented by environmental advocates and to urge the Ohio House of Representatives to vote down the bill.
The bill passed through the Ohio Senate with the support of Republicans and some Democrats. Supporters have described it as effectively striking a balance between protection of the environment, public health and safety, and commerce.
But the Natural Resources Defense Council has criticized the regulations for limiting the public’s ability to appeal state-issued drilling permits. The rules specify that well operators may drill for oil and gas under privately owned property without the approval of the landowner as long as enough neighbors agree to it. By signing the petition below, you will help to discourage the development of policy that allows oil and natural gas drilling companies to dictate our treatment of the environment at the expense of individual citizens and landowners.
Dear Ohio House of Representatives Public Utilities Committee,
I am concerned that the bill passed by the Ohio Senate last week that outlines new regulations for horizontal shale drilling does not go far enough in placing restrictions on drilling companies in order to support environmental protection measures.
I hope that you will consider the recent testimonies presented by environmental advocates. The present time calls for policy that recognizes the possibility of an environmental crisis, which becomes more likely as the oil industry gains political sway. By voting down the Senate bill, you have the opportunity to take the first step toward creating a new policy that allows for the preservation of our environment.
[Your Name Here]