An environmental group has discovered a controversial playbook that a state department drew up to tackle oil and gas drilling issues. The plan calls into question the relationship between a state agency and the industry it’s supposed to regulate. Now, two state lawmakers are asking for legislative hearings to further investigate hearings.
A sketch of the proposed natural gas power plant in Middletown.
Credit NTE Energy
Plans for a new natural gas-fired power plant have been announced in Middletown. The plant would employ 300-400 people for about three years of construction, and 25-30 when it is up and running in 2018.
Middletown is part of a statewide trend towards natural gas and away from coal. From November 2012 to November 2013, energy generated from natural gas in Ohio increased 16 percent, in part because natural gas prices have become competitive with Appalachian coal.
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 amount of waste from the shale gas and oil drilling process injected into disposal wells in Ohio is continuing to rise.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says that 14.2 million barrels of fluids and other waste from the process of hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - were injected into disposal wells in the state in 2012. That was up 12 percent from the previous year.
Officials say drilling in Ohio's Utica shale region nearly doubled the output of oil and natural gas there since 2011.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday that the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the shale region of eastern Ohio increased the oil output by 93 percent and the natural gas output by 80 percent in that time.