Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is calling for stricter environmental sanctions on oil and gas industry polluters, according to the Associated Press. DeWine stated during a media interview that disclosure of all chemicals used during the fracking process is needed to protect citizens as natural gas explorations grows around the state. Ohio's top law enforcement official suggests increasing civil fines per environmental infraction to $10,000 per day. Current state laws carry a maximum of $20,000 per oil and gas industry incident. Texas, Colorado and Pennsylvania have enacted similar
Here are some facts and figures concerning Ohio fracking laws and DeWine's ideas to further environmental protection:
* A review by DeWine's office also concluded that requiring up-front fracking information from natural gas drillers is commonplace in several other states where hydraulic fracturing is common. DeWine would like to see similar rules requiring the release of exact concentrations of chemicals used during the shale excavation process in Ohio, according to the Associated Press. Dewine's concerns extend beyond the environmental to the safety first responders sent to drilling sites should an emergency occur.
* Governor John Kasich spokesman, Rob Nichols told the Associated Press that the administration is updating drilling regulations and will prioritize public safety, health and the environment in a way which coincides with the stringent recommendations offered by DeWine.
* The Associated Press reports that the empowerment of the Attorney General's office or another state agency to aid landowners with lease agreement and drilling complaints is included of the list of DeWine's natural gas regulation recommendations. DeWine stated that he supports Gov. Kasich's efforts to build the natural gas industry in the state and the fracking process. The Attorney General believes that shale drilling will offer a "lot of jobs" in Ohio but the process must be done correctly to protect the land and the public.
* The attorney general became involved in an incident relating to the use of "deceptive tactics" by gas lease buyers after a civil review was inconclusive. A note was found in Greene County which contained language which could be construed as instructions coaching lease buyers to deceive landowners considering entering into a contract with the gas industry, according to the Associated Press in August. A lease salesman was fingerprinted and a local environmental activist questioned about possibly "faking" the memo. Neither individual could be conclusively linked to the document or any shady lease practices.
* This week DeWine certified the Ohio Clean Energy Initiative Amendment petition, according to the Attorney General's website. Fox News reports that the Ohio Constitutional amendment would require a 10 year bond issue to raise $13 billion for investments in solar, wind, geothermal and other clean energy sources if passed. The amendment would also prohibit the Ohio General Assembly and the Ohio Energy Commission from "influencing" energy investments. The investment process would be governed by an Ohio commission incorporated in the state of Delaware.