This is the final post in the series discussing water rights & regulation in the Utica and Marcellus Shale Regions. The first post discussed how oil & gas companies select water resources to supply their drilling activities. The second post discussed the riparian water rights doctrine which is followed in the Midwest. This final post
This is the second post in a three part series which discusses water rights & regulation in the Utica and Marcellus Shale regions. The first post discussed how oil & gas companies select water resources to supply their drilling activities. The post also reviewed two different strategies employed by companies when accessing water resources:
World Water Day
March 22nd is World Water Day which was created, in part, to learn more about the issues that surround water. This includes the importance of access to fresh water for both people and industry. In recognition of World Water day, I will be posting a three part series this week discussing the…
Representative Wachtmann has introduced H.B 473 which will implement Ohio’s regulatory program under the Great Lakes Compact. H.B. 473 follows last summer’s veto by Governor Kasich of H.B. 231 which was criticized by environmental groups and former Governor Taft and Senator Voinovich as not protective enough of Lake Erie.
The Great Lakes Compact was…
Competing bills have been introduced to the Ohio Legislature which are designed to implement the Great Lakes Compact. The Compact was passed by the other States that border the Great Lakes. Its fundamental purpose was to establish a new regulatory structure over water withdraws from the Great Lakes.
In 2008, Ohio passed H.B. 416, by which Ohio officially…
With Michigan and Pennsylvania’s passage of the Compact, all of the Great Lake States have now endorsed it. The next step is to go to Congress for ratification. While the press has almost exclusively concentrated on the diversion aspects of the Great Lakes Compact, there are other provisions that could have important ramifications for businesses. Ohio has yet to pass enabling legislation that will grant authority to the Ohio Department of Natural Resource to implement other important aspects of the Compact, most notably regulation of water withdraws.
The driving force behind the Compact was to ban diversions to other States and Countries. But the Compact also requires each of the eight states to establish a regulatory program for new or increased withdraws from the Great Lakes basin. Ohio’s enabling legislation will decide critical issues such as- how much water must be withdrawn before a permit will be required? The Compact sets a default number of 100,000 gallons per day (gpd). Other states have established higher thresholds, such as 1,000,000 gpd.
Another critical question – what type of review is required if a business triggers the need for a withdraw permit? The Compact contains very broad language that requires a review of impacts to the Great Lake basin from which the withdraw takes place. However, the Compact grants the states a tremendous amount of discretion to establish the level of review associated with new withdraws. For example, Ohio could prohibit issuance of a withdraw permit if the proposed project would result in decreased flow in a tributary of Lake Erie. Ohio could also require a detailed review of the impacts to the ecosystem if a withdraw is allowed.
While focus has rightfully been on protecting this tremendous freshwater resource from being diverted elsewhere, there are important policy questions that still remain unanswered. How Ohio and the other Great Lake States regulate withdraws within their states will arguably have a more direct and immediate impact on its constituents. Continue Reading Important Issues Unaddressed After Passage of Great Lakes Compact