Regional Chamber welcomed ODNR Director to talk about oil & gas - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Regional Chamber welcomed ODNR Director to talk about oil & gas industry

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NILES, Ohio - Regulating the oil and gas industry in Ohio was the focus of a gathering in Niles, sponsored by the Regional Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director, James Zehringer, was the guest speaker. He said the shale plays in Ohio are having a major impact on the state's economy, and it is just the beginning.

Across the valley, Columbiana County has seen the most activity with 57 wells total and 12 producing. Mahoning County has 13 wells with three producing, while Trumbull County has 10 wells and also three producing.

In terms of regulation, Zehringer said his agency is focused on keeping pace with the industry and has increased it's staff of inspectors by three fold.

"We've gone from 30-some to over a 100 and that's one of the lessons we learned from other states. Pennsylvania, for example, we're not going to play catch up," said Zehringer.

While some who stood outside this meeting had concerns about drilling and protecting the Meander Reservoir, Zehringer said Ohio is ahead of the curve with some of the strictest rules and regulations on well construction.

"We want to make sure ground water and drinking water never gets compromised through the oil and gas industry, and that's why the well construction rules are so important," said Zehringer.

He also said Ohio is writing new rules and paying close attention to injection wells and waste water management with a goal toward more recycling.

"Impounding that holds the fluids that can be reused again for fracking and other wells, yeah, we're encouraging recycling," said Zehringer.

The goal is to see the industry grow and do well, but environmentally safe.  


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