Energy / Hydraulic Fracturing

Before you vote, see how they voted on fracking

On May 24, 2012 the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives voted to pass the final version of Senate Bill 315, with amendments from both houses of the legislature. Governor John Kasich signed the bill into law on June 4th.

The new law makes it easier for oil and gas drillers from Texas and Oklahoma to use the notorious practice of fracking. Fracking involves a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulically fracturing rock layers with high-pressure injections of toxic chemicals mixed with 2 to 10 million gallons of fresh water.

The law lets drillers hide all chemicals they use from the public until 60 days after a well is completed. Meanwhile, they can hide any chemicals they want even after that by declaring that they are “trade secrets.” Doctors, emergency responders, and other medical professionals are supposed to be able to get the trade secret information, but the law makes getting it difficult, especially if they need the information quickly in the case of an emergency.

If a doctor manages to get the trade secret information, she is bound by a gag-order to only use it for treating a single individual. She can’t tell other people what they might have been exposed to in an accident, and she can’t do medical research on how the chemicals affect people that live in the area.

How did your legislators vote?

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