Compressor Stations Open Up New Front in Fracking Debate

Jul 19, 2016
Carroll County resident Barry Booth stands near his home, which is within sight of a natural gas compressor station. He believes emissions from the facility have contributed to his family's health problems.
Joanna Richards

Back in February, 300 people crowded into a school gym in Medina County, Ohio, to lob questions, concerns—and some unvarnished anger—at state environmental regulators. At issue was the siting of a new natural gas compressor station along the planned NEXUS pipeline—a 250-mile transmission line being built to carry gas from Ohio to Chicago,  southeast Michigan and Ontario.

The Hunt for Methane Leaks Goes High-Tech

Jul 17, 2016
Photo (top): The 2015 leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility near Los Angeles was a grim reminder of how devastating methane leaks can be. The Environmental Defense Fund estimates that the four-month leak will have the same 20-year climate
Earthworks / Flickr Creative Commons

Up a bumpy road in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania, a team of researchers park their van, turn on a half-million dollars of equipment, and start another round of trying to solve a climate riddle.

They are in rural Susquehanna County looking for methane—the powerful greenhouse gas and the main component of natural gas.

A Pennsylvania gas well.  fracking drilling
Gerry Dincher / Flickr/Creative Commons

State data shows the amount of hydraulic fracturing wastewater pumped underground in Ohio increased by more than 15 percent last year.

The increase comes as drilling for shale in the process known as fracking has slowed nationwide.

A Columbus Dispatch analysis of Ohio Department of Natural Resources numbers shows Ohio took in nearly 29 million barrels of fracking wastewater in 2015.

That figure is about 4 million more barrels than in 2014.

Ohio Group Still Calling For Increased Fracking Tax

Mar 4, 2016
A Pennsylvania gas well.  fracking drilling
Gerry Dincher / Flickr/Creative Commons

Natural gas closed at a 17 year price low Thursday, and low prices have led to worry among lawmakers about the nature of Ohio’s oil and gas industry—but one group is still calling for an increase to the drilling tax.


A struggling market for natural gas has led top Republican and Democratic leaders to hold back on increasing the so-called fracking tax. But the liberal leaning think tank, Policy Matters Ohio, says data shows that companies pumped more natural gas from the state’s shale last year than the year before.


Ohio's high court recent ruling limits local power over gas drilling.

A study group reviewing a proposed tax hike on oil and gas drillers in Ohio has delivered its findings and recommendations on the issue.

The report Thursday suggests that Ohio officials consider a "trigger" or slow phase-in of any severance tax increase based on market conditions of the industry.

In its report to the 2020 Tax Policy Commission, the group says price and production should be among the factors weighed when determining the tax rate on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Fracking Foes' Ballot Protest

Sep 16, 2015

Residents in three Ohio counties where Secretary of State Jon Husted invalidated anti-fracking ballot issues have lost a lawsuit before the Ohio Supreme Court.
Justices said in a 6-1 decision Wednesday that Husted didn't have the discretion to assess the legality of "community rights charters" offered in Fulton, Medina and Athens counties, but he had another valid reason to toss the measures.

Woman spend up to $200 a year on taxes for feminine hygiene products.
Flickr Creative Commons

Republican Senators have made dozens of changes to the budget they unveiled last week, with a final vote by the full Senate likely Wednesday.

Senators eliminated language that would have banned using state money on any projects that require specific agreements negotiated with unions – that ban had angered Democrats. But state agencies would have to hold public hearings when so-called Project Labor Agreements are involved. 

Kasich Still Fighting To Get 'Fracking' Tax Approved This Year

Jun 2, 2015
Lawmakers scrapped Gov. Kasich's proposal that would have given schools less money.
User: Thoth188 / Flickr/Creative Commons

Senate leaders are talking about possibly creating a so-called "fracking" tax through this year’s budget plan. The fight over increasing the oil and natural gas tax has been a long battle on many fronts.

The Senate plans on releasing a revised budget any day now and it might include an increase to what’s known as the severance tax—this is a tax on the oil and gas extracted from Ohio’s shale. 

If that happens, it could be Gov. John Kasich’s closest shot at getting an increase to pass in three years.

Ohio Deep Injection Well Seeks To Reopen After Quakes

Mar 12, 2015

The operator of a northeast Ohio deep-injection well for drilling wastewater that's been shuttered since it was tied to seismic activity last year is fighting to get the facility reopened.

American Water Management Services asked the Oil and Gas Commission at a Wednesday hearing to lift a state chief's order that shut down the well at its Weathersfield site, near Warren, last fall.

User: eJourna / flickr

Ohio lawmakers are currently considering a measure that would fast track fracking on public lands. But there’s debate over whether it would allow drilling activity in state parks.

The bill would allow drillers who are working on private property that’s separated by state lands to drill through those lands. Republican Rep. Al Landis of Dover says the drilling would be thousands of feet underground, because a commission would have to allow drilling on the surface in state parks.