Tuesday, May 17, 2011

St. Reps. Adams and Hall Highlight Substitute Bill on State Lands Leasing Legislation

COLUMBUS—State Representatives John Adams (R-Sidney) and Dave Hall (R-Millersburg) today announced the introduction of Substitute House Bill 133 in the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee. The substitute bill encompasses positive changes to the legislation that will create the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission and will establish a procedure by which the commission may enter into leases for oil and gas production on land owned or under the control of a state agency for the purpose of providing funding for capital improvements for the agency.
Ohio is currently in the midst of experiencing an economic downturn,” said Representative Adams, the sponsor of the legislation. “While we are in the process of closing an estimated $8 billion budget shortfall, Ohio must find proactive solutions to provide the state additional revenues. State lands leasing would also create new jobs for Ohio workers and new economic opportunities for Ohio businesses.”
After numerous committee meetings and hours of testimony, stakeholders worked tirelessly to address issues that arose since the introduction of the legislation. Some of the changes include a system in which each state-owned land will be classified into a category, which will assist the state agency and the commission with properly determining which lands will be most suitable for oil and gas leasing.
Sub. House Bill 133 will maintain its efforts to provide funding for our state agencies to assist in capital costs, which include equipment, renovations and repairs of facilities, and acquisition of additional lands.
“It’s important to note that this substitute bill is a refined version of H.B. 133,” said Representative Dave Hall, Chairman of the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee. “We’ve implemented substantial improvements and safeguards that will benefit Ohioans.  Most notably, the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission will act as an advocate of the people.  With regard to leasing, this substitute bill ensures that public land managers retain the authority to approve the development of their respective lands.  It is imperative and in the best interest of Ohio that these managers control their property in coordination with the state and federal government.”
Sub. House Bill 133 will now undergo extensive consideration in committee.