OH Attorney General Wants Drillers Who Pollute to Pay More

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (Republican) said yesterday he wants tougher penalties for Utica and Marcellus Shale drillers who “pollute.”

DeWine said yesterday that Ohio’s environmental fines should be raised to at least $10,000 a day — higher than the current maximum of $2,500 to $20,000 per incident, depending on the violation. Many states such as Pennsylvania and New York impose per-day civil penalties, DeWine said.

“Ohio’s clearly out of the mainstream in these penalties,” he told The Dispatch. “My recommendation to the General Assembly is that these laws be changed."

The Republican attorney general also called for “full disclosure” of chemicals being put into the ground, and he said landowners leasing their property to energy companies should be covered by the state’s consumer-protection law.

“There’s no one place in the state where someone can go if they have a problem, if they want some sort of mediation,” DeWine said of property owners.*

But  Tom Stewart, vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, says laws for violators are already strict enough:

“I think the attorney general is off base,” Stewart said. “My view is, his staff failed to understand the status of the law.”

*The Columbus Dispatch (Feb 9, 2012) – DeWine wants tougher laws on ‘fracking’