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Testimony: Biennial Operating Budget (Substitute HB 59 )

Ohio Environmental Council, May 1, 2013

Submitted to the Ohio Senate General Government Finance Subcommittee, by Jack Shaner, Deputy Director, Ohio Environmental Council

Thank you for this opportunity to testify as an Interested Party on Substitute House Bill 59 (As Passed by the House), the biennial State Operating Budget.

Testimony Summary (for full testimony, scroll down for PDF)

1. Land & Water Conservation Funding

SUPPORT Executive and House – funding levels for:

  • ODNR Natural Areas and Preserves
  • ODNR Geological Survey             
  • ODNR Soil and Water Resources                       

SUPPORT House – funding levels for:

  • Ohio State University – Ohio Sea Grant
  • Heidelberg University – Water Quality Lab

SUPPORT Executive and House – Healthy Lake Erie Fund

  • Ask Senate to add $1.7M for Healthy Lake Erie Fund


2. Clean Ohio Fund

SUPPORT House – for adding $26M in bond sales for Clean Ohio Fund

  • Ask Senate to add additional $26M in bond sales for Clean Ohio Fund

SUPPORT House – Legislative Study Committee on Clean Ohio + Brownfield Funding 

OPPOSE House – Use of Revenues from Oil and Gas Drilling on State Park Lands for Clean Ohio Fund (DNRCD32)


3. Oil & Gas Regulatory Oversight

SUPPORT Executive – funding level for:

  • Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management

            FY 2014: $21M (+102.4%)

            FY 2015: $22M (+ 2.2%)

NOTE: The OEC respectfully asks the Senate to ask DNR to account for the GRF expenditures recommended for the Division and the flow of revenue from the existing Oil and Gas Severance Tax.

  • Ask Senate to increase Horizontal Well and Nonhorizontal Well Severance Taxes and direct revenue to regulatory oversight, enforcement, and environmental protection, including hiring more state inspectors and Ohio EPA emergency responders, plugging additional orphan wells, and helping fund local needs such as local responders.

OPPOSE Executive – Disposal of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material and Other Material from Horizontal Wells 

SUPPORT Executive – Oil and Gas Well Plugging 

SUPPORT ExecutiveBrine Disposal Requirements 

  • Prohibit disposal of brine, crude oil, natural gas, or other waste fluids associated with the exploration, development, production, or plugging of oil and gas resources in ground water, on the land, or in surface water, except for surface application of brine on roads or in accordance with a permit issued by ODNR chief of Oil and Gas Resources Mgt.

SUPPORT Executive – Assignment and Transfer of Oil and Gas Leases 


4. Coal Regulatory Oversight

OPPOSE Executive – Coal Mine Safety Program  

Coal Regulatory Funding – The OEC respectfully opposes the Executive proposal (and House acceptance) to fund $2.5M in coal regulatory and mine safety operations with GRF funds and oil and gas severance tax revenues, rather than severance taxes and fees on the coal mining industry.


5. Environmental Protection

SUPPORT Executive – Solid Waste Transfer and Disposal Fees 

SUPPORT Executive – Sale of Tires Fee 

SUPPORT House – Funding for Converting School Buses to Alternative Fuels 

SUPPORT Executive – Extension of Synthetic Minor Facility Emissions Fees, Water Pollution Control Fees, and Safe Drinking Water Fees 

OPPOSE Executive – Administration of Federal Section 404 Permitting Program for Discharge of Dredged or Fill Material 

  • Ask Senate to expand definition of “public safety vehicle” to include emergency response vehicles of Ohio EPA to enhance its emergency response capability.


For full testimony, click link below.