State Throws Out Appeal Of Drilling Permit For Injection Well

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An appeal of a drilling permit for a K&H Partners injection well was dismissed Thursday by the Ohio Oil & Gas Commission.

“I’m disappointed, but not surprised,” said Andrea Reik of the Athens County Fracking Action Network, which appealed a permit issued last December to K&H Partners for a well near Torch in Troy Twp.

Both the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and K&H Partners filed motions seeking dismissal of the appeal.

In its decision Thursday, the Ohio Oil & Gas Commission said that under Ohio law and an Ohio Supreme Court ruling it lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal. The commission agreed with ODNR’s argument that the permit that was appealed is a drilling permit, not an injection permit.

In 2010, state law was amended to say that a drilling permit is not an order of the chief of the Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management. Only orders are appealable to the Oil & Gas Commission. In 2013, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld that provision of law.

The commission noted that the Ohio Supreme Court also said that other types of permits, including injection permits issued under a different section of Ohio law, are within the commission’s jurisdiction.

Mark Bruce, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said K&H Partners was issued an injection permit in April. Bruce said he did not know if there is a deadline for appealing such a permit.

Reik, who had not yet seen the commission’s ruling, said she does not know how Athens County Fracking Action Network will proceed.

“We will have to consult with the attorney and see what direction we should go,” Reik said.

The Messenger could not reach ACFAN’s attorney, Richard Sahli, late Thursday afternoon.

Injections wells are used for disposal of waste from oil and gas wells, including fracking waste. The waste is injected underground.