Shale drillers in Ohio must report toxic chemicals locally

COLUMBUS, Ohio - 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.

Ohio officials notified companies that a federal chemical disclosure law trumps a 2001 state law requiring that the information only be filed with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, The Columbus Dispatch reported Monday. The state gave companies until Sept. 21 to begin complying with the federal law.

The guidance affecting the state's burgeoning hydraulic fracturing industry follows an April letter in which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made clear that Ohio's chemical-reporting laws don't supersede federal right-to-know requirements.

The letter came in response to a complaint by a coalition of environmental and community groups involving a January chemical emergency near St. Marys in Auglaize County.

The reporting change will benefit residents in areas of Ohio where fracking is abundant, said Teresa Mills, whose Center for Health, Environment and Justice spearheaded the complaint.

"They can go to their local emergency planning commission and ask for these records," she told the newspaper.

Her group, the liberal ProgressOhio and the Buckeye Forest Council have also called on the federal government to consider suspending Ohio's authority to oversee deep wells used for disposal of the chemically laced wastewater that results from using the hydraulic fracturing method to drill for oil and gas. They cited a Youngstown-area businessman's federal indictment for alleged Clean Water Act violations and a spate of eastern Ohio earthquakes tied to deep injection.

The technique is used to extract gas from the Marcellus Shale, which lies deep underneath parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York.

The federal right-to-know law allows oil and gas companies to shield some chemicals from the inventories it releases as trade secrets. Among chemicals used in the process that may be listed are: ethylene glycol, which can damage kidneys; formaldehyde, a known cancer risk; and naphthalene, a possible carcinogen.

A leader of Ohio's oil and gas association said the state chemical disclosure law was intended to centralize and ease access to information about the chemicals used in drilling.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association vice president Tom Stewart told the Dispatch the new directive will make it more difficult for firefighters to learn what chemical hazards they might encounter at a shale well fire.

"We changed the law so fire departments could rely on the annual reports we make to (Natural Resources), which would be inserted into an emergency response website," Stewart said.

Online: Ohio oil and gas well locator

Information from the Columbus Dispatch

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

Fracking Coverage

Ohio regulators link seismic activity to fracking_ Ohio regulators link seismic activity to fracking_

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.

Shell to stop drilling in Alaska in 2014 Shell to stop drilling in Alaska in 2014

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.

Shale drillers in Ohio must report toxic chemicals locally Shale drillers in Ohio must report toxic chemicals locally

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.

Tradition and temptation as Amish debate fracking Tradition and temptation as Amish debate fracking

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.

Youngstown-area men accused of dumping brine plead not guilty Youngstown-area men accused of dumping brine plead not guilty

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.

Feds charge man in Youngstown wastewater dumping case Feds charge man in Youngstown wastewater dumping case

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.

Ohio seeks new tests, reports on oil and natural gas drilling waste Ohio seeks new tests, reports on oil and natural gas drilling waste

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.

Hollywood faces fracking in Hollywood faces fracking in 'Promised Land'

The new movie "Promised Land" digs into the fierce national debate over fracking, the technique that's generated a boom in U.S. natural gas production while also stoking controversy.

Drilling opponents in group called Drilling opponents in group called 'Frackfree America National Coalition' plan rally in NE Ohio

Anti-drilling demonstrators say a new movie is inspiring a protest in Youngstown, where deep injection of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing was linked to a series of earthquakes.