Columbus – State Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) introduced legislation this week to improve safety measures related to oil and gas drilling.

Senate Bill 378 doubles the previous minimum distance a well or storage tank can be from an occupied dwelling or home.  Current law stipulates wells “shall not be within 150 feet” from a dwelling.  Senate Bill 378 would move that required setback distance to 300 feet for all future wells.

“As the number of signed oil and gas leases continue to grow, it is critical that our state takes proactive measures regarding the safety of homeowners,” said Senator Schiavoni.  “This legislation would give an added level of protection to ensure that there is an adequate distance between a well and a home.”

Senate Bill 378 also expands safeguards for storage tanks, also called tank batteries, which store oil and brine.  These liquids can be highly flammable and dangerous if not stored properly.  The new safety requirements proposed in the bill are currently used only for tanks in “urban areas”.  The bill would make these important safety precautions mandatory for all storage tanks throughout the state, regardless of location. Some of the safeguards tanks must be equipped with include: a functioning lighting arrestor, proper sealing hatches, pressure relief valves for vent stacks and other measures.

Senator Schiavoni hopes to work with Ohio’s environmental agencies, the Department of Natural Resources and members of the oil and gas industry this fall to approve these significant measures into law. 

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