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Hydraulic Fracturing Making a Ripple: Seismic Activity Prompts Ohio’s New Policy

 

A recent policy update by the state of Ohio could impact oil and gas hydraulic fracturing drilling practices nationwide. After investigating a series of earthquakes in Ohio last month, officials from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced a probable correlation between fracking and seismic activity. The DNR is now requiring drilling companies to monitor seismic activity in order to drill within three miles of any susceptible areas. Other states, such as Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, have led similar investigations with no resulting policy shift.

The new guidelines will allow regulators to halt drilling in the event of an earthquake greater than one on the Richter scale. Tom Stewart, Executive Vice President of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, noted that some drilling companies did monitor for seismic activity prior to this legislation. Ohio DNR Director James Zehringer commented that "while we can never be 100% sure that drilling activities are connected to a seismic event, caution dictates that we take these new steps to protect human health, safety and the environment." He added that the new policy "will provide more information" about the causes behind tremors.

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