Improve Ohio

Project Improve Ohio – Successes 

Beginning around 2008 we worked together with communities across northern Ohio to compile your requests into the Six Steps to PublicSafety . For the next three years we used this to lobby our state lawmakers for change.

As a result, SSB 165 passed into law in 2010 including many of our priorities via amendments. While we still need many more improvements to compete with protections already in place in other states – just think, none of this was required before 2010!  Ohio law was improved in the following ways thanks to citizens just like you stepping forward and making your voices heard.  Please continue to do so under the Take Action tab.

Elimination of Gerrymandering Units

• Requires rules adopted by the Chief relative to minimum acreage requirements for drilling units to require a drilling unit to be compact and composed of contiguous land.

Notification for a permit to drill a well 

• Revises the application requirement concerning notification of the submission of an application for a permit to drill a new well by requiring the notice to be provided by regular mail to the owner of each parcel of real property, rather than to the owner of each  occupied  dwelling  as  in former  law,  that  is  within  500 feet  of  the  surface location of the well and to the executive authority of the municipal corporation or the board of township trustees of the township, as applicable, in which the well is to be located, and applies that requirement only to a new well within an urbanized area.

Public meeting required by a political subdivision concerning a proposed lease agreement 

• Requires  the  legislative  authority  of  a  political  subdivision  to  conduct  a  public meeting concerning a proposed lease agreement for the development of oil and gas resources on land that is located in an urbanized area and that is owned by the political subdivision prior to entering into the agreement.

• Establishes procedures and requirements concerning the public meeting and notice of the meeting, including the provision of notice of the meeting to the owner of each parcel of real property that is located within 500 feet of the surface location of the property that is the subject of the proposed lease.

• Requires  an  owner  of real  property  that receives  notice  of  a  public  meeting  to provide a copy of the notice to each residence in an occupied dwelling that is located on the ownerʹs parcel of property, if any.

Notice of the filing of a permit application to residents in occupied dwellings 

• Requires an owner of a parcel of real property who receives a notice concerning the filing of an application for a permit to drill a new well within an urbanized area to provide  a  copy  of  that  notice  within  five  days  of receipt  of  the  notice  to  each residence in an occupied dwelling that is located on the ownerʹs parcel.

Fluid drilling required to prevent release of toxic gases 

• Requires a person who is issued a permit to drill a new well or drill an existing well deeper in an urbanized area to establish fluid drilling conditions prior to penetration of the Onondaga limestone and continue to use fluid drilling until total depth of the well is achieved unless the Chief authorizes drilling without using fluid.

Chemical Disclosure & Well stimulation 

• Establishes  requirements  concerning  the  stimulation  of  a  well,  including a requirement  that  the  well  be  stimulated  in  a  manner  that  will  not  endanger underground  sources  of  drinking  water,  and  requirements  and  procedures concerning damage to specified parts of a well during stimulation.

Chief must obtain a copy of the material data safety sheet for the material and post a copy of it on the Divisionʹs web site

Defective wells or casing 

• Revises the provisions that prohibit the construction of a defective well or casing.

Fluids associated with oil and gas development 

• Prohibits a person from placing or causing to be placed crude oil, natural gas, or other fluids associated with the exploration or development of oil and gas resources, in addition to brine as in ongoing law, in surface or ground water or in or on the land if the placement causes or could reasonably be anticipated to cause either water that  is  used  for  consumption  by  humans  or  domestic  animals  to exceed  Safe Drinking Water Act standards or damage or injury to the public health or safety or the environment.

• Revises  the  standards  for  the  storage  and  disposal  of  brine  and  other  waste substances, including requiring that pits and steel tanks must be used, rather than just pits, for containing brine and other waste substances in connection with drilling, well stimulation, reworking, reconditioning, plugging back, or plugging operations.

Application of brine to roads 

• Permits only brine that is produced from a well to be spread on a road. 

• Prohibits fluids from the drilling of a well, flowback from the stimulation of a well, and other fluids used to treat a well from being spread on a road.

Increased Minimum Setbacks in Urban Areas from surface location of a well, a tank battery, and other surface facilities 

  • Increased distance of a well from an occupied dwelling in an urbanized area to 150ft

  • Established distance of directional drilling well surface location from the property line of a parcel of land that is not in the drilling unit to 150ft

  • Established surface location  of  a new  well  cannot  be  within  200 ft  of  an  occupied dwelling that is pursuant to a mandatory pooling order (tank batteries however are permissible at 75 ft from property line)

Noise Mitigation terms and conditions of a permit 

• Adds noise mitigation as an additional subject that the Chief must address when attaching terms and conditions to a permit with respect to a well and the production facilities of a well that are located within an urbanized area.

Mandatory pooling 

• Prohibits  a  person  from  submitting  more  than  five  applications  for  mandatory pooling orders per year unless the Chief approves additional applications.

• Prohibits  surface  operations  or  disturbances  to  the  surface  of  the  land  from occurring on a tract pooled by an order without the written consent of or a written agreement with the owner of the tract that approves the operations or disturbances.

• Revises the criteria in accordance with which an owner of a tract that is pooled by a mandatory  pooling  order  must  be  designated  as  a  nonparticipating  owner,  and specifies  that  a  nonparticipating  owner  is  not  liable  for  actions  or  conditions associated with the drilling or operation of the well.

Liability Insurance 

• Increases the amount of liability insurance coverage that an owner of a well must obtain from $300,000 bodily injury  coverage and $300,000 property damage as in prior law to $1 million bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage unless the well is located in an urbanized area, in which case the liability coverage must be at least $3 million.

• Requires an owner to maintain insurance coverage until all of the ownerʹs wells are plugged and abandoned, as in continuing law, or are transferred to an owner who has obtained insurance and who is not under a notice of material and substantial violation or under a suspension order

Enforcement actions and orders of the Chief 

• Revises law to authorize the Chief, by order, to immediately  suspend drilling,  operating,  or  plugging  activities  that  are  related  to  a  material  and substantial violation and to suspend and revoke an unused permit under specified circumstances.

• Authorizes the Chief to issue a bond forfeiture order under the Oil and Gas Law for failure to comply with a final nonappealable order or a compliance agreement and to  notify  drilling  contractors,  transporters,  service  companies,  or  other  similar entities of the compliance status of an operator, and authorizes the Chief to issue a suspension order if the owner fails to comply with a prior enforcement action of the Chief.

Database of permittee violations 

• Requires the Chief to maintain a database on the Divisionʹs web site that is accessible to the public, and requires the database to list each final nonappealable order issued for a material and substantial violation, the violator, the date on which the violation occurred, and the date on which the violation was corrected.