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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Energy in Depth Touts Ohio's Well Construction Regulations, But Others Questions How Strong They Really Are

From Energy in Depth:
Throughout it’s history, Ohio’s oil and natural gas industry – and the regulators who oversee these operations – have placed the highest priority on safety standards.
Nowhere is this more evident than during the well construction stage, and the high standards set forth by Ohio’s industry and it’s regulators to ensure this vital phase is completed meeting  stringent standards that are second-to-none, and serve as a model for developing states across the country.
With the passage of Senate Bill 315 earlier this year – an update on the two year old SB 165 – Ohio now has the most robust, transparent regulatory system in the country, and, in looking at the graphic below, we can see how our state is setting the bar when it comes to well construction rules.

Read the rest of the article, which lauds Ohio for the stringent well construction regulations included in the recently passed bill.

However, the National Resources Defense Council raised many questions about the standards in Senate Bill 315.  For example, is the fact that there are 54 identified standards regulated in Ohio the best way to determine how stringent the regulations are, or is the actual stringency of the regulations themselves more important?  Here is a portion of the NRDC's response to the ODNR on the standards in Ohio when they were proposed:
Following up on our conversation last week, this memo provides a more detailed response to the attached ODNR “Drilling Regulation” diagram upon which you requested our comments.  NRDC appreciates your involving us in discussions regarding ODNR’s proposed well construction rules, and we remain willing to work with your office to help you meet the Governor’s desires for a strong and transparent permitting program for shale gas wells.  
As described below, however, the diagram fails to address the substance of the concerns we have raised in our written comments and prior communications on ODNR’s proposed well construction rules.  Although we appreciate ODNR’s willingness to improve its proposed rules in response to our comments, to date only minor improvements have been offered.  ODNR’s proposed rules need to be substantially strengthened before they are finalized if they are to live up to the Governor’s goal that Ohio become a leader in developing standards that protect public health and the environment.
Read the entire document here.

So, what do you think?  Are Ohio's standards strong enough?  Or is EID insulting our intelligence by attempting to whitewash shoddy, industry-friendly regulations and sell them as some of the strongest standards in the U.S.?

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