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The top law enforcer of the state of Ohio says that stricter environmental penalties on polluters in the oil and gas industry and necessary disclosure of the chemicals that are used in the drilling method referred to as fracking are needed to sufficiently protect residents as shale exploration flourishes in the state.
During an interview with a media outfit on Wednesday, Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine called for increasing the civil penalties to $10,000 a day from the present maximum of $20,000 for each incident. That would bring the fines at par with other states like Colorado, Texas and Pennsylvania.
According to a staff review conducted by the office of DeWine, requiring from drillers up-front information on the contents of any liquid blasted deep into the earth during hydraulic fracturing or fracking, is also in line with states including Michigan and Colorado.
He also said he would like to see the disclosure of both the chemicals used and their concentrations, not only because of concern for the environment but also to help the emergency workers that are dispatched to drilling sites.
DeWine said, “Ohio’s laws simply are not adequate today.”
A former U.S. senator, DeWine said that changes need to be implemented now, although he also said that he would leave it to state legislators and the governor the form such legal changes would take.
During the interview, DeWine said, “If something happens six months from now, three months from now, and we look up and say, ‘Gee, our penalties aren’t adequate,’ it’s going to be too late. There’s nothing that Mike DeWine as attorney general, or any other attorney general, will be able to do.”