UPDATE: one of these facilities has exploded, injuring three workers.

In 2013, the Ohio legislature quietly inserted a provision in the budget (HB 59) that modified state oil and gas laws in ORC 1509.22(B)(2)(a) to read as follows:

On and after January 1, 2014, no person shall store, recycle, treat, process, or dispose of in this state brine or other waste substances associated with the exploration, development, well stimulation, production operations, or plugging of oil and gas resources without an order or a permit issued under this section or section 1509.06 or 1509.21 of the Revised Code or rules adopted under any of those sections. For purposes of division (B)(2)(a) of this section, a permit or other form of authorization issued by another agency of the state or a political subdivision of the state shall not be considered a permit or order issued by the chief of the division of oil and gas resources management under this chapter.

This has allowed over 20 facilities to exist in Ohio that can handle dangerous (explosive, toxic chemicals and radionuclides present) without a permit, rather simply with an “order by the chief” of Ohio DNR. For an explanation of this issue, see Terry Lodge’s letter to Attorney General Mike DeWine raising concerns about worker safety and environmental contamination below. Also see the testimony where Patriot advocated for this “grandfathering clause” in ORC 1509. It should be noted that this is the very same non-regulatory strategy that lead to the tragic contamination of water in West Virginia earlier this year.

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