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Testimony: Biennial Operating Budget – Substitute House (Bill 59)

Ohio Environmental Council, May 23, 2013

Submitted to the Ohio Senate, by Jack Shaner, Deputy Director, Ohio Environmental Council.

The OEC’s Top 5 State Budget Priorities

1. CLEAN OHIO FUND

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

SUPPORT House – Legislative Study Committee on Clean Ohio + Brownfield Funding (LSCCD5)

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

ASK Senate to add additional $26M in bond sales for Clean Ohio Fund (for an aggregate total of $52M over the biennium). This will complete the $400M in bond funding authorized by Ohio Voters in 2008.

 

2. LAND + WATER CONSERVATION FUNDING

SUPPORT Executive + 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 + House – Healthy Lake Erie Fund (DNRCD6)

ASK Senate to add $1.7M for Healthy Lake Erie Fund to support expanded monitoring in and along the Lake Erie shore and in major rivers and tributaries in the western basin of Lake Erie in order to help direct nutrient prevention and clean up efforts to prevents harmful algal blooms.

 

3. OIL & GAS AND COAL REGULATORY OVERSIGHT

SUPPORT Executive + House funding level for Division of Oil and 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.

SUPPORT Executive – Oil and Gas Well Plugging (DNRCD15)

SUPPORT Executive – Brine Disposal Requirements (DNRCD30)

  • 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 (DNRCD25)

OPPOSE Executive + House – Coal Mine Safety Program (DNRCD7).  Coal Regulatory Funding – The OEC 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.

OPPOSE TENORM Amendment: Executive – Disposal of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material and Other Material from Horizontal Wells (DNRCD31)

ASK Senate to reject the”TENORM” amendment that would allow radioactive-laced wastes from oil and gas drilling to be placed in landfills that are not engineered to safely contain radioactive waste. Instead, consider this subject in a stand-alone bill to facilitate more scientific inquiry and public input.

 

4. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

SUPPORT Executive + House – Solid Waste Transfer and Disposal Fees (EPACD2)

SUPPORT Executive + House – Sale of Tires Fee (EPACD1)

SUPPORT House – Funding for Converting School Buses to Alternative Fuels (EPACD12)

SUPPORT Executive + House – Extension of Synthetic Minor Facility Emissions Fees, Water Pollution Control Fees, and Safe Drinking Water Fees (EPACD8)

OPPOSE Executive – Administration of Federal Section 404 Permitting Program for Discharge of Dredged or Fill Material (EPACD9)

ASK Senate to expand definition of “Public Safety Vehicle” to include vehicles used by Ohio EPA’s emergency response section. This will enable these enironmental first responders to more quickly access and direct clean up efforts at hazadous materials spill sites.

 

5. TRANSPORTATION

ASK Senate to require ODOT to survey local transit agencies and metropolotan planning oganizations (MPOs) to better idetify public transportation needs and related costs and benefits for walking, biking and trasit bus and train.

 

Addtional Expert Testimony by Linda Aller

 

Click below to read OEC’s full testimony.