Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ohio House Accepts Senate Changes to Energy Exploration Bill

COLUMBUS—Continuing a strong commitment to improving Ohio’s economy and creating jobs, the Ohio House of Representatives today voted to accept Senate changes to Amended Substitute House Bill 133, which will responsibly develop Ohio’s energy sector while creating jobs and boosting economic development in Ohio.
Specifically, Am. Sub. H.B. 133 asserts that it is the policy of the state to provide access to and support the exploration for and the development and production of oil and natural gas resources on lands that are owned or controlled by the state.
It creates the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission and establishes a procedure by which the commission may enter into leases for oil and gas production on land owned by or under the control of a state agency, excluding nature preserves. These leases would serve to provide additional funding for capital costs, including equipment, renovations and repairs, and acquisition of additional lands.
“The House and Senate majority caucuses pledged to Ohioans that they would work to create jobs and revitalize the economy, and that is exactly what this bill does,” said House Majority Whip John Adams (R-Sidney). “It is not the final answer, but it is a significant step in the right direction. This is about boosting our core industries and at the same time bringing about more jobs and lower costs on our middle class and taxpayers.”
“After going through the legislative process and extensive debate from both chambers, this bill is a much stronger bill that will benefit all Ohioans,” said Chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Dave Hall (R-Millersburg). “We have taken special care to ensure that all energy exploration will be responsible and precise—after all, these are our parks and our communities, and we all take pride in our natural areas that our families enjoy.”
The State of Ohio is the single largest landowner in the state but has a fundamental funding problem associated with properly managing those properties. Am. Sub. H.B. 133 is a way for the state to do something to help itself, short of increasing the tax burden on its citizens.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources currently has a backlog of more than half a billion dollars in capital improvements in state parks. This legislation would help to provide funding for these projects and ensure that Ohio’s state parks are protected and remain open to the public.
Am. Sub. H.B. 133 has received the support of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, and the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association. Having received the approval of both the House and Senate, the legislation will now move to Governor John Kasich for his signature.