Late yesterday, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed an emergency executive order granting the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) authority to implement new rules for proposed deep injection wells, used to dispose of drilling wastewater (also known as brine) from Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling. Under the order, the chief of ODNR’s division of oil and gas resources management will have authority to order preliminary tests at proposed well sites, prevent drilling where tests fail, and limit injection pressure. ODNR also can order installation of automatic shutoff valves and monitor for leakage. ODNR developed these rules as part of its investigation into the Youngstown, Ohio earthquakes of December 31, 2011; the agency announced its preliminary findings and proposed regulations earlier this year.
The governor’s executive order will expire in 90 days—enough time for the state to make the new rules permanent. The press release announcing the executive order can be found here. Associated Press coverage of the announcement can be found here.