Ohio Ethics Commission Says Oil & Gas Commission Member Has Conflict of Interest

From the Columbus Dispatch:

A consultant’s work to help negotiate Utica shale oil and gas mineral-rights leases creates a conflict of interest with his duties on a state panel that hears drilling complaints, the Ohio Ethics Commission decided yesterday.
As a result, the ethics commission warned Robert Chase that he should not take part in any Ohio Oil and Gas Commission cases that involve drilling companies or landowners that have paid him for consulting work.
“He is more than a passing participant in the operations in the Ohio oil and gas industry, which may bring into question his ability to function in his appointed duties,” said Merom Brachman, ethics commission chairman.
The five-member Oil and Gas Commission hears, among other things, the appeals of Ohio residents who don’t want drilling and “fracking” on or near their property. Chase serves as the panel’s public representative.Chase also directs Marietta College’s Department of Petroleum and Geology, which trains students to work in the drilling industry.
More recently, he has worked as a consultant for landowner groups that negotiate terms and payments for mineral-rights leases offered by drilling companies eager to tap oil and gas trapped in Ohio’s Utica shale.

While it's a nice idea that Chase could take part in cases that do not involve drilling companies or landowners that have paid him for his consulting work, that may be difficult.  The article later states:

However, Chase has worked with some of the largest, including Chesapeake Energy, Anadarko Petroleum, Chevron, Exxon, Marathon, CONSOL Energy and Hess Energy, as he represented landowner groups.
Together, the businesses have leased mineral rights to millions of acres of Ohio’s Utica shale.

Read the rest of the article here.

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