Governor John Kasich recently announced that legislation will soon be introduced to reform nearly all facets of Ohio's current energy policies and regulations. The development and continued exploration of shale gas in eastern and southeastern Ohio will be a focal point of the measure, which is expected to include: disclosure of fluids used in hydraulic fracturing; impact fees paid by producers to local governments for infrastructure upgrades and improvements; and a near top-to-bottom review of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management.
Other pillars of the Governor's energy legislation are expected to focus on electric generation and distribution, waste heat capture and cogeneration, and alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas for vehicles. More details on his proposed changes to energy policies can be found in the February 28, 2012, issue of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The Ohio legislature is also expected to review and revise the jurisdiction for natural gas and oil pipelines in Ohio. A recent article in the Columbus Dispatch discussed the varying jurisdictions with regulatory authority over certain pipelines traversing the state of Ohio. Legislative leaders have indicated the need to revise the jurisdiction of Ohio regulators – including the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and the Ohio Power Siting Board. Federal law provides certain jurisdiction to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for pipelines, but state law also intersects at certain aspects.
With shale gas exploration and development continuing heavily in Ohio, additional pipeline infrastructure is expected and being mapped. Ohio legislative leaders expect a bill to outline pipeline safety, infrastructure and regulatory jurisdiction to be introduced in the spring of 2012.