PITTSBURGH - Natural gas processors MarkWest Energy, Dominion Resources, M3 Midstream and others are building about $12 billion worth of infrastructure in Ohio, according to an official with the state Department of Natural Resources.
While Rick Simmers, chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management at ODNR, spoke Friday during the DUG East conference in Pittsburgh, he noted a case before the Ohio Supreme Court is challenging his agency's exclusive authority to regulate drilling and fracking throughout the Buckeye State.
Simmers reminded those in attendance at the two-day conference that although advances in horizontal drilling and fracking now allow for exploration in the Utica and Marcellus shale formations, there have been about 280,000 wells drilled in Ohio since 1861.
"We believe regulation is best at the state level," Simmers said, noting the city of Munroe Falls in Summit County remains determined to gain some authority over fracking.
In 2004, the Ohio General Assembly gave the state DNR "sole and exclusive authority to regulate the permitting, location and spacing of oil and gas wells." However, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor recently agreed to accept Munroe Falls' appeal, so the matter is pending.
Simmers said Ohio Gov. John Kasich takes hydraulic fracturing regulations seriously. He said seismic activity near an underground injection well in the Youngstown area a couple years ago led to more stringent rules regarding where drillers can place such wells.