On May 24, the Ohio State Assembly passed Senate Bill 315. The 73-19 majority in the Assembly voting in favor of the bill mirrored the overwhelming support it got in the Senate (21-8). Yet, EcoWatch calls it one of the worst fracking bills in the US, and reports that
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.
The bill sets a low taxation rate for oil and gas production, and also prohibits doctors from publicly discussing the negative health impacts of oil and gas production on their patients.
The editorial board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wanted some of the most egregious loopholes closed before the bill was passed– things like the disclosure of what “trade secret” chemicals they are pumping into the ground, and giving the public a chance to attend a public hearing before a well permit was approved. But, this may be their most reasonable request to close a loophole:
the bill unwisely jeopardizes $2 billion in Ohio wind-farm investments by allowing state renewable energy credits to be generated by natural-gas cogeneration installations at public colleges. That’s likely to devalue these credits, upending the financial viability of five wind farms now on the drawing boards.
Not only does the gas industry write its legislation to make sure that it does not have to comply with bothersome regulation or pay taxes, it even sets up things to give it a leg up on its (much cleaner) competitors.