Ohio lawmakers moved ahead despite opposition Wednesday with a controversial bill to regulate shale gas production and tinker with renewable energy rules.
The House Public Utilities Committee voted to approve the measure nearly intact as it arrived from the Senate despite hearing a full day of testimony -- and more than 25 amendments -- from environmental groups warning the new law would not go far enough.
The bill is expected to easily win approval in the House Thursday in a largely partisan vote as lawmakers race to adjourn before Memorial Day.
Still missing from the proposal are provisions that would require complete disclosure of all chemicals used during drilling and hydraulic fracturing of shale rock to free natural gas and oil.
That's what Gov. John Kasich wanted, but lawmakers in the Senate last week eliminated disclosure of drilling lubricants once the well is below the local water table but still thousands of feet above its final depth.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, requires millions of gallons of water and sand --plus chemicals to kill bacteria and assist with the high-pressure fracturing.
The bill does not require producers and contractors to reveal those chemicals until after the well is drilled. Opponents want disclosure before so they can have their wells tested. And the bill gives the Ohio Department of Natural Resources up to 60 days to post the chemicals on its web site.
As now written, the legislation slightly loosens the gag on doctors treating patients injured by these chemicals who have obtained the proprietary chemical formula of the substances.
Doctors can reveal the formulate to the patient, family and other doctors involved, and now, under an amendment this week, can identify the trade secret chemicals in reports required by law or professional ethics.Read the rest of the article here.
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