Is Ohio About to Enact the Worst Fracking Law Yet?
It looks like Ohio is following in Pennsylvania’s footsteps — and that’s not a good thing. Earlier this year AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld reported about Act 13, passed in Pennsylvania:
Pennsylvania, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed and where the U.S. coal, oil and nuclear industries began, has adopted what may be the most anti-democratic, anti-environmental law in the country, giving gas companies the right to drill anywhere, overturn local zoning laws, seize private property and muzzle physicians from disclosing specific health impacts from drilling fluids on patients.
The draconian new law, known as Act 13, revises the state’s oil and gas statutes, to allow oil companies to drill for natural gas using the controversial process known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking, where large volumes of water and toxic chemicals are pumped into vertical wells with lateral bores to shatter the rock and release the hydrocarbons. The law strips rights from communities and individuals while imposing new statewide drilling rules.
Now it looks like the state has competition for worst law — coming from Ohio. Governor Kasich is set to sign SB 315, which look eerily similar to Pennsylvania’s Act 13. Ecowatch reports:
The industry has told Ohioans to prepare for thousands of new wells. Here are some of the worst things about SB 315 that you need to know:
• Key portions of the bill were written, word for word, by the gas industry. Gov. Kasich and the fracking industry’s biggest supporters adopted model legislation proposed by the industry to set disclosure and key safety rules.
• Fracking companies can hide which chemicals they use in the fracking process by calling them “trade secrets.” What little they do disclose is 60 days after drilling takes place, too late for communities to test to show what was in their water before drilling, rendering the disclosure meaningless.
• The gas industry pays nothing for the mess they create. Gov. Kasich’s minor tax on individual wells is offset by new tax breaks on property taxes and other giveaways, which means the gas industry will pay less in Ohio taxes than they do in any other state in the country.
• No citizen notification or input will be allowed on any part of the fracking industry. There is no public notice, no public comment, and no right to appeal for drill sites, pipelines or compressor stations.