Investigation Shows Ohio Failed to Refund Oil and Gas Lease Overpayments

Oct 20, 2016

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is under scrutiny for failing to track over-payments and issue refunds.
Credit OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Ohio’s government watchdog is recommending changes with the agency that issues permits for oil and gas drilling in Ohio.

Ohio’s inspector general says his office found a series of issues in the Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources. The investigation says that office failed to refund at least 47 over-payments for well applications, totaling more than $13,000.

The inspector general's report says after they voiced concerns to ODNR, a state database used to track drilling permits was changed to make it look like the over-payers no longer had overpayments on their accounts. The inspector general says they never received a clear answer as to why.

The inspector general also noted applications were sometimes changed without the applicant’s consent, and some applications weren’t processed in the time frame laid out in state law.

No criminal charges were recommended, but the report suggests ODNR create a system to track overpayment credits, and speed up the permitting process.