Posted Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Ohioans have been drilling for oil and gas since the 1800’s. But some people are saying ‘not in my backyard’ – literally. Ohio is scattered with hundreds of thousands of new and old oil rigs. Now legislation is winding its way through Ohio’s Senate that would tighten restrictions on oil and gas drilling. Things like how far a rig can be from a home. But some groups think it won’t be enough. They’re worried about the environment and their safety. Join host Dan Moulthrop Wednesday morning at 9, as we drill deeper into this issue.
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By not putting amendments into the House Bill 165 concerning the rights of the residents is blinding the public. The awareness to this sort of residential drilling comes into place to late. The legislation amendments will protect those who know not what they do by signing these gas well leases. I have been a resident who was blindsided by this residential gas well drilling process. Unfortunately I have no recall to this unwanted industrial EPA hazard proposed 100 ft from my home. Thanks to NEOGAP, an unbiased information website MIT came here and put together to help make residents aware I am now educated on a process I not only have no control over but either does my city that I chosse to reside in. Where do my rights come into play here? What is a process like this doing on a quite culdesac street dedicated to a fallen patrolman? Where 14 houses say no to this gas well but the two residents who say yes to this gas well can change the health, safety and well being of our lives.When is the state going to see the errors it has made and put corrections to them? Why not now?
Senate Bill 165 was nothing more than lipstick on a pig. The bill is nothing more that HB 278 and this one was also written by the Oil and Gas industry. Don’t let Mr. Logan and Mr. Kinney’s half truths lead you to believe that they have given us a good piece of legislation, unless you are part of the industry. Mr. Logan talk about regulating for stupidity as in the Bainbridge incident, but the driller of question was issured a permit within months of the incident and it was buisness as ususal. Mr. Kinney explained that control is in Columbus becasue they have the experts, control is in Columbus becasue they have a vested interest in the process, ODNR gets it’s funding from the permitting process. SB 165 does nothing for removing mandatory pooling which is legalized theft by the state, and if Mr. Kinney claim is true that only a hanful of drillers use it, then why isn’t it removed? With regards to home rule, we now have a Gov. who is for home rule in the case of Columbus and gambling interests, but he won’t apply that same logic to Noth East Ohio and drilling. Either the Gov. is very confused, or conflicted. He can’t have it both ways. Contacting your state rep. or state senator will do you now good as not one of them will return a call with regards to this issue, although most of them have taken campaign contribution either directly from the oil and gas industry or someone directly related to it. This bill now moves to the house and as yet Mr. Buddish won’t comment. Once again the average citizen of Ohio is caught in the politics of this state.
Very interesting program. Hope you will do more programs like this.
We must return these local decisions to the local community.
Mr. Kinney is a bit wrong—townships have had and have been permitted to have zoning regulations for oil & gas wells before control was taken out of their hands. Our township regulations were strict enough that all wells were effectively zoned out until local control was taken away by SB 278 passing in 2004.
Also, I hope the new round of post-Bainbridge regulations requires that drillers post a bond of at least the $2,000,000 it takes to replace a neighborhood’s destroyed well water aquifer with a city water distribution system. In the alternative the state of Ohio should require that drillers pay into a fund to provide for replacement of the clean, safe water lost when an aquifer is destroyed or repair of other oil and gas well collateral damages. How does someone in Columbus know that my neighborhood’s, my township’s or my county’s drinking water source is well water when they give drillers the right to come in and destroy it? Local people might know that and be better poised to draft regulations to protect it.
Mr Baker who was head of the Ohio Oil & Gas Association at the time that SB 278 of 2004 took local control away appeared at an informational session before our township at the time he, as owner of Bakerwell drilling, was drilling the 1st well in the township. A well that SB 278 permitted him to drill without any township oversight. He was appearing at the public meeting only as a courtesy. I was astounded to hear from him at that meeting that there was no bonding required or no fund of that sort and no requirement in that SB 278 deregulation bill for such bonding or for such a fund. He assured all present that water well pollution was something that just could not occur. Our township, Russell township, is next to Bainbridge township where 3 years later an aquifer was destroyed.
I called the office of my State Senator, Tim Grendell, following today’s WCPN show and asked if such bonding and funding would be required in the bill, SB 165 of 2009, that passed the Ohio Senate yesterday (12/15/2009)—they said no! They said Senator Grendell had made some 17 or 18 amendments/proposals to the bill that passed and not a single one was included in the bill—all shot down by the Oil & Gas special interests. His proposals, they said, included required bonding for a well and a $10,000,000 state-wide fund to repair damages caused by Oil & Gas drilling.
People who sign up for gas wells often do not realize several crucial things. One is that the closer they are to the well, the more their property values will sink--if you are really close you can expect a a 7%-10% loss. It’s common sense--Who would want to buy a house next to an oil or gas well?
Another misconception is how much people will make. Right now the price of gas is very low and these figures are based on average prices. Someone who owns a one acre lot will get an estimated $5000 in 10 years or $500 a year in royalties; if you subtract taxes, mortgage fees and a 1% property value loss, you end up losing money. Given the risks to the environment, and possible health and safety issues and the fact that signing on to a well will hurt neighbor’s property values too, this is really a losing proposition. If you have 20 acres, then you can make money with a good well, but smaller property owners BEWARE. Drillers make huge promises about how much you will make, saying thousands and thousands but not if you own a small lot and get a small portion of 1% of the gas well revenues. Be careful! Look at the NEOGAP.org website! Linda
A sad fact that most people who have never been in the oil & gas industry don’t know is, that even when the ODNR’s inspectors are on a particular drill site NUMEROUS times, many of them WILL NOT enforce the ODNR’s rules and conditions, even when that are CLEARLY required by the well’s drilling permit. I have seen this MANY times within just the past year while working on a rig in northeast Ohio. I also have seen this serious lack of oversight by the ODNR many other times in past years. This is nothing new to me, since I have helped drill about 1000 oil & gas wells in Ohio since 1977. It is very clear to me that ODNR adds numerous rules and “special conditions” to many of the drilling permits that they issue just to try to make them look good for the public’s view. After the Bainbridge disaster the ODNR added a list of “Special Permit Conditions”. The first condition that list is #1:"Conductor casing must be landed to bedrock and cemented to surface”.I have seen this important first step in the drilling process completely ignored numerous times by the driller AND the ODNR Since those rules went into effect early in 2008. The English #1 well that caused the Bainbridge disaster had 88 feet of conductor casing, but it was not cemented to surface. I believe that if the 88 feet of conductor HAD been cemented on the English #1, that the added protection could have made a difference. I wonder if some drillers and the ODNR will EVER learn that there are some corners that shouldn’t be cut in the name of MONEY. Jim McCartney
The Sun Press quoted Mr. Logan as saying the reason the home exploded in Bainbridge was that the home builder placed the water well head in the basement. The gas that escaped from the gas well, went into the water table, up the well, and into the home. A nice enough, gas and oil company plans to put a well in a few hundred feet from my home, and I also have a water well in my basement. So, what do I do with this well? Should I fill it in, seal it over, or what? The oil and gas company is happy enough to vent it to the outside. I asked ODNR, but they do not consider it their problem.
So… Since The ODNR and industry are experts on Oil and Gas they should be the sole word on where to put wells? Totally disregarding the local people who have to LIVE with them.
Reasoning like this would lead one to say that Larry Flynt and Hugh Hefner, being experts on adult entertainment, should decide where to build adult bookstores? - and ignore local zoning.
Ohio Valley Energy, who drilled the Bainbridge well and was described herein by Mr. Logan as “egregious” and deviating from law and permit, is still drilling and operating wells in Ohio and beyond.
Thanks for linking the Scene article and for a great show.
Hello , I really liked your show on oil and gas ,I have a story that will knock your shocks off involving a oil and gas company that illegally dumped nearly a half million gallons of toxic fluid and the cover up that surrounds it.People need to know what is in the frac fluids and the health risks to human and animals.Also the dirty secrets of those who are to protect us from this.