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‘Fracking’ must be properly regulated in Ohio

Gov. John Kasich extols the energy and economic-growth potential of Ohio’s oil and natural-gas reserves. Extracting these riches from the state’s shale deposits often requires a controversial but increasingly popular technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The process pumps toxic chemicals and sand into underground rock formations to release trapped gas and oil. … If fracking is not adequately regulated by government — including public disclosure of the poisonous substances used by drillers — it threatens groundwater, streams, air quality, and public health.

Ohio needs — and does not have — reasonable but effective rules to govern fracking …. A new report ominously suggests that the natural-gas industry is making big political contributions, in Ohio and in Congress, as part of a successful decade-long lobbying campaign to escape proper oversight of fracking.

The study by the nonpartisan good-government group Common Cause reports that natural-gas interests have donated more than $20 million to the campaigns of current members of Congress, including $600,000 to Ohio lawmakers. State elected officials in Ohio collected an extra $2.8 million in the past decade. …

As fracking grows in Ohio, the state will have to exercise more oversight ….

Will the Kasich administration provide such oversight? …

Either way, industry campaign contributions must not be allowed to dictate the debate over fracking regulation – or cause Ohioans to believe that they will.

The (Toledo) Blade