For generations, energy exploration has served as a cornerstone for job creation and economic development in Ohio. Some may even be surprised to learn that oil and gas drilling in our state dates back more than 150 years. In fact, by the 1880's Ohio had grown into the world's leading producer of oil. Thanks in large part to rather recent technological advances, such as horizontal drilling, Ohio is beginning to realize new and exciting opportunities in relation to the oil and gas industry. However, the call for sound environmental stewardship has made it necessary to ensure that any further exploration is conducted with proper respect for our state's land and natural resources. Only then can we begin to pursue the economic benefit and jobs that this industry holds for our state. Senate members recently took much-needed steps at improving Ohio's regulatory landscape for the future. Legislation was passed that will not only require well owners to disclose the chemicals that are used in their drilling operations, but also provides a searchable database so that residents can also see the elements of fluid compositions for hydraulic fracturing. Water samples must be taken within 1,500 feet of all horizontal wells in order to monitor water quality, and well operators will be required to disclose the source of any water that they use in their operations. Measures like these are stringent and necessary to maintain the health and safety of our communities, while also holding the oil and gas industry accountable for their practices. Operators who fail to comply with these new standards will be subject to increased civil and criminal penalties and will be forced to improve their methods if they wish to do business in our state. We are also calling for renewed responsibility and collaboration among well owners and government entities. Horizontal well operators are encouraged to work with local governments to produce agreements pertaining to the maintenance of any roads and highways that are used during production. The Department of Natural Resources, which holds primacy over oil and gas regulations, will call upon other state agencies to offer regulatory guidance on issues indirectly related to drilling. Shared responsibility like this not only cultivates a greater vested interest in how we move forward, but also ensures efficient and long-lasting oversight for the years to come. Recent months have been marked by a string of economic strides for Ohio and it is vital that we stay on course toward a more prosperous tomorrow. In doing so, it is essential that we continue creating quality jobs for our residents and new economic opportunities for our communities. Energy development in Ohio requires elevated transparency and strong oversight, but I confident that this enhanced regulatory landscape will allow us to make the most of the opportunities that lay ahead. -30Senator Balderson represents the 20th Senate District of Ohio, which is made up of Athens, Coshocton, Guernsey, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, and Washington Counties
Senator Balderson represents the 20th Senate District of Ohio, which is made up of Athens, Coshocton, Guernsey, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, and Washington Counties
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