Governor Imposes New Rules On Injection Wells

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich has issued an order immediately imposing new state regulations on deep-injection wells used to dispose of chemically-laced wastewater from oil and gas drilling.

The directive issued Tuesday gives the Ohio Department of Natural Resources temporary authority to implement a list of rules announced after a series of Youngstown-area earthquakes was tied to one such deep well.

Agency spokesman Carlo LoParo says the rules don't address groundwater contamination because there have been no incidences of such contamination in Ohio.

The executive order gives the Chief of ODNR's Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management the power to require more testing as injection wells are being constructed.

"The chief has the authority to order very extensive testing of these injection well holes as they're being drilled to check for any possibility of seismic activity, to check the well integrity, to check for very minute and previously undetectable faults that may exist to ensure that when these wells are in operation, they operate in an environmentally safe and responsible manner," LoParo said.

LoParo says the rules focus on the construction of new wells and will impact existing wells.

The order is effective for 90 days, allowing lawmakers time to make the rules permanent.