Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation's strictest.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday issued an executive order that immediately imposed new state regulations on deep-injection wells used to dispose of chemically-laced wastewater from oil and gas drilling.
The directive gives the Ohio Department of Natural Resources temporary authority to implement a list of rules announced after a series of Youngstown area earthquakes was tied to one such deep well.
The official order signed by Kasich says the regulations will provide the greatest degree of citizen protection possible without causing irreparable harm to an important industry.
Under the order, the chief of the division of oil and gas resources management will have authority to order preliminary tests at proposed well sites, prevent drilling where tests fail, and limit injection pressure. The state also can order installation of automatic shutoff valves and monitor for leakage.
ODNR spokesman Carlo LoParo said the order will not affect a moratorium Kasich placed on deep injection wells surrounding the epicenter of the quakes. The moratorium halted regional disposal of millions of gallons of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas or oil and other forms of drilling.
The Youngstown well had back-to-back earthquakes on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve that grabbed widespread public attention. It was closed after the second quake reached a 4.0 magnitude.
D&L Energy in Youngstown, the well's operator in northeast Ohio, sought state permission in February to re-open the shuttered well to conduct independent research to prove the well didn't cause the quakes. But as of April, it had not received the state clearance it said was necessary. LoParo said at the time that the state couldn't approve the request because of the moratorium in place.
Kasich's order is effective for 90 days, which will allow lawmakers time to make rules permanent.
Shell, Europe's largest oil company, will stop drilling for oil in Alaska this year as it cuts back on investments and tries to reverse a steep drop in earnings.
A list of toxic chemicals used by Ohio shale drillers must be made available locally to governments, first responders and residents under a new state directive.
Amish communities in Ohio and Pennsylvania are debating a temptation -- the large cash royalties that can come with the boom in oil and gas drilling from the technology known as fracking.
A northeast Ohio businessman and one of his employees have pleaded not guilty to charges alleging they violated the Clean Water Act by repeatedly dumping gas-drilling wastewater into a storm sewer.
Prosecutors are charging a northeast Ohio man with violating the federal Clean Water Act after at least 20,000 gallons of gas-drilling waste was dumped into a river tributary.
Contaminated wastes from a boom in oil and natural gas drilling would face new testing, reporting and tracking requirements before going to Ohio landfills under proposal developed by three state agencies over the past several months.