Ohio opponents to seek moratorium on gas drilling

Sep 7, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio is the latest state where opponents are pushing a ban on a form of drilling that injects chemicals into shale to release natural gas.

Democratic state Sen. Michael Skindell of suburban Cleveland introduced a bill Tuesday calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to await results of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study of potential environmental hazards.

Ohio would join New York and New Jersey among states above the fuel rich Marcellus shale if it imposes the ban. Calls for bans in West Virginia and Michigan have been unsuccessful.

Skindell also introduced a bill requiring drillers to publicly report on chemical use and disposal in the fracking process.

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce has commissioned a separate study on the potential economic benefits of gas drilling.

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The state Department of Environmental Conservation says an updated version of its environmental impact study on natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale region is ready to be released for public comment.

Spokeswoman Emily DeSantis says the 1,000-plus page document will be released late Wednesday morning. DEC officials have said there will be a 60-day public comment period following the release, although environmental groups and some politicians have called for a 180-day comment period because of the technical complexity of the study.

The report outlines New York's rules for natural gas drilling using high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which injects chemical-laced water at high pressure into a well to crack surrounding shale and release gas.

Permitting has been on hold for three years while the study was being done.