UPDATE (May 25, 2012): Late last night the Ohio Senate accepted the House’s version of SB 315, passing it on a 21-8 vote. The bill now heads to Governor John Kasich’s desk for signature (the Governor issued a statement praising passage of the legislation).
May 24: Earlier this evening the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate passed a revised version of Ohio Senate Bill 315, which implements new requirements for hydraulic fracturing operators. Because the Senate agreed late in the day to House amendments to the version of the bill the Senate passed nine days ago, SB 315 will now head to the Governor’s desk for signature.
Since it originally was introduced in the Ohio Senate and analyzed at this blog, the bill has undergone significant revisions. After introduction, SB 315 was referred to the Ohio Senate’s Energy and Public Utilities Committee. On May 3 the committee offered a substitute SB 315 containing significant changes to provisions concerning tax credits, brine disposal, and chemical disclosure, among others. The Senate committee further tweaked substitute SB 315 on May 15 and passed it out of committee; the full Senate voted on and approved the bill the same day. Once referred to the House Public Utilities Committee, SB 315 moved swiftly — committee hearing were held on May 21, 22, and 23, yesterday the bill was passed out of committee on a party-line vote, and today the full House adopted the proposal on a 73-29 vote.
The Senate and House amended several aspects of SB 315′s chemical disclosure requirements. But the timing of the required chemical disclosures to Ohio DNR (within 60 days after completion of drilling operations) remained unchanged. The bill’s language was altered in committee with respect to the types of fluids for which disclosure will be required, including exemptions for cement and its constituents and inclusion of materials used to refracture, restimluate, or newly complete a well.
The scope of trade secret protections for proprietary compounds used in fracturing fluids also were amended. Specifically, the Senate included provisions allowing certain medical personnel limited access to trade secret information for purposes of treating or diagnosing an individual affected by an incident associated with well production operations. The House subsequently added a provision authorizing certain types of interested parties to challenge the validity of trade secret claims in state court. Environmental groups objected to this addition, contending its limitations make the cause of action essentially unusable.