Ohio Legislators Strip Radioactive Drilling Waste, Severance Tax Provisions From Budget

Yesterday we discussed the grim prospects for the NORM and TENORM provisions in Ohio Governor John Kasich’s proposed budget. Both industry and environmentalists opposed the provisions, and state legislators recently expressed their desire to address the issue in separate legislation.

The Ohio House of Representatives released its proposed changes to HB 59 yesterday and, as predicted, the NORM and TENORM provisions were nowhere to be found. The full text of the House’s proposed substitute bill is over 4,000 pages, but a handy summary of the changes can be found here.

Beyond removing provisions on radioactive drilling wastes, the House made several other changes bearing on oil and gas development in Ohio. These changes to the Governor’s budget proposal include:

  • Removing proposed changes to the horizontal well severance tax structure
  • Removing the $25,000 horizontal well impact fee
  • Creating the Oil and Gas Fund, with direct proceeds from drilling on state lands to be distributed evenly between the Clean Ohio Program and for the maintenance of state parks
  • Removing proposed changes to brine disposal requirements
  • Removing changes related to production reports for oil and gas wells

Assuming the House passes its substitute bill, the Senate then will have the opportunity to propose its own changes to the budget. Then the budget will go to a conference committee, where the two chambers will reconcile their versions of the bill to produce a final budget.

Media coverage of the House’s substitute budget bill can be found here, here, and here. The North American Shale Blog will continue to track the shale-related aspects of this legislation as it proceeds.