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.
2013 ends with more than twice as many shale drilling permits issued for the Utica Shale play than first expected, encouraging news for Ohio backers of natural gas exploration and production.
Earlier this year, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources projected 525 permits for shale drilling. That would’ve been a modest increase from 2012’s total of 376, but now in its most recent report, the state DNR shows 1015 permits issued to 30 companies since 2009, operating in much of eastern Ohio.
Ohio officials are advising oil and gas companies to share information on the toxic chemicals they use with local authorities, including first responders.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio notified companies this month that federal disclosure law trumps a 2001 state law requiring only that the information be filed with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
An important study on possible health impacts of natural gas drilling is still looking for additional funding.
Geisinger Health System spokeswoman Amanda O'Rourke said Wednesday the $1 million grant that was announced in February 2012 remains the only funding for a project that was projected to cost at least $25 million.
Geisinger plans to look at health histories of hundreds of thousands of patients who live near Marcellus Shale gas wells in Pennsylvania. Geisinger is based in Danville.
A newspaper reports that injection drilling in Ohio hasn't met the initial expectations of state officials this year.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials had told state legislators in March that as many as 250 of the natural-gas and oil wells would be drilled in eastern Ohio Utica shale by the end of the year.
But state records show that only 165 wells have been completed, with 22 more being drilled.