News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

The Holden Arboretum

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Levin Furniture


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Environment


New report looks at Ohio fracking disclosures
State ranks midway for adequate transparency when it comes to chemicals used in oil and gas drilling
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
In The Region:
A new report says Ohio’s new disclosure laws -- touted by Gov. Kasich as some of the most open in the country -- are lacking when it comes to oil and gas drillers and the chemicals they use. But WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports that the industry says it needs some level of secrecy to maintain a competitive edge.
New report looks at Ohio fracking disclosures

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:05)


The report comes from OMB Watch, a nonprofit that monitors government transparency. It looks at policies and laws in 30 states that govern disclosure by the companies that use water laced with chemicals in the shale drilling process known as fracking. Many of the companies say that the chemicals they use are proprietary, and revealing them would be akin to revealing the formula for Coke.

Sean Moulton is director of federal information policy at OMB Watch, and says most state laws are inadequate. 

“While we want to respect trade secrecy, there has to be a that way we can get this information about what chemicals are being pumped under our homes, out to the public. Just like Coke and Pepsi report their ingredients, but you don’t have the formula, that’s what we really need to get to. Where we know what’s being injected, we don’t necessarily know how it gets put together into different formulas.”

Trade group says few chemicals are classified
That’s what Ohio law already requires, according to the industry trade group, the Ohio Oil & Gas Association. The group says only about 3 percent of the chemicals used are considered trade secrets, and the rest are disclosed to the public, thanks to last month’s passage of Senate Bill 315. 

Tom Stewart is vice president of the Association. He foresees no changes in Ohio laws after the passage of 315, and says that both the EPA and the Department of Energy are praising Ohio’s guidelines.

“They said that they peer-critiqued the Ohio program against the national guidelines. And the Ohio oil and gas [regulations are] overall well-managed, and meeting [their] program objectives. And [they have] a lot to offer other states on how to do it right. So despite the report, a collaborative of people from a national perspective said that the Ohio oil and gas regulatory program is one of the better in the nation.”

OMB puts Ohio in the middle of the pack
Even the OMB report says Ohio isn’t among the worst when it comes to transparency and oversight of fracking companies. In fact, it puts the state somewhere in the middle. But it says Ohio still lags in establishing baseline testing of air and water quality near the wells – which the report notes no state does -- and the fact that some chemicals can remain trade secrets.

About a quarter million oil and gas wells have been drilled in Ohio since the Civil War. But the pace accelerated with the escalation of fracking in 2005. That’s when the Congress exempted fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act, which was designed to prevent toxic substances from being injected near underground drinking water.

OMB wants exemption reversed
Sean Moulton of OMB Watch says reversing the exemption is one of the reasons he co-authored the report.

“I think if hydraulic fracturing really was safe, and had no risk to the drinking water, it wouldn’t need an exemption. At the state level we need [a] tighter permitting process that requires up front reporting. And we need to create checks and balances in the ‘confidential business information’ claims that companies make around these chemicals.”

Fracking proponents argue that more regulation will hamper efforts to extract natural gas.

The Fracfocus.org website is supposed to list non-proprietary chemicals at every fracking well in the country, with information gathered from energy companies.

It now lists just two wells in all of Stark, Summit, Portage, Cuyahoga, Lake, Ashtabula, Mahoning and Lorain counties.
Listener Comments:

I hear the chemicals used are Nuclear wastes -can you confirm this?


Posted by: Barbara (Ohio) on July 16, 2012 11:07AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Pluto: The Browns split from Manziel is long overdue
Get Brock Osweiler from the Denver Broncos! He's fantastic and seems like a great person.

Democratic Senate hopeful P.G. Sittenfeld pushes for local gun control
That makes no sense at all... why not let cities determine driving codes as well? Maybe Cincy want's folks to drive on the left side of the road. What could go ...

Exploradio: Autism in the workplace
I would love to get more information re: Autism on The Town and other such programs in Northeast Ohio. Thanks!!

Human trafficking cases rise in Ohio
It is about time this is presented to proceed with a plan of prevention..to protect our youth.And very necessary to inform communities through school, churches ...

Fermented food company aims to preserve Cleveland's farm-to-table movement
This is terrific! I make my own sauerkraut and consider it vital to good health. Well done, I wish you all success.

Ohio doctors get new guidelines for prescribing certain painkillers
I would gladly smoke pot to get off pain killers but its not legal.It would save the hassle of doctor visits for pill counts,pee tests,blood tests,driving to pi...

Ohio unemployment cuts are nearing a Statehouse vote
What about those that are laid off seasonally? My husband has been employed by the same company for 26 years and has been laid off (for the last 17) mid-Januar...

Ban on microbeads is a big step in fighting plastic pollution
What a bunch of liberal "so open minded their brains fell out" tree huggin yuppies. Professing to be wise they became fools.

Who's on -- and left off -- Ohio's medical marijuana task force?
Biggest joke everm these people are evil they know marijuana is harmless they rigged the polls last nov everypne kmows it

Dayton 'Black Lives Matter' protesters to appear in court today
Police to fast with the trigger finger and not the brain.A lot of police officers out here judge by color first instead of accessing the situation first. If a p...

Copyright © 2016 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University