Appalachian Basin

ODNR, Farm Bureau Road Show Makes a Stop in Z-Ville

Dale Arnold, energy policy advisor for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and Mike McCormac, oil and gas permitting manager for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), have been traveling the state talking to audiences about the safe and responsible development of energy from shale.  It’s a road show that has taken them from Portage County all the way to Belmont County — with each stop an opportunity to chat with farmers and answer  any and all questions related to the development and leasing process.

One of their meetings was recently held in Zanesville, Ohio.  The crowd was a mix of farmers and locals interested in hearing about this new investment in eastern Ohio.  The program was very informative focusing on leasing issues and the safety of oil and gas exploration in Ohio.

Mr. Arnold’s presentation focused on the energy market, leasing and what the farmers should look for when leasing their land.  His interests are mostly in protecting the farmers and making sure the landowners get the best deal on their lease.  The best recommendation he tells the crowd is to get an attorney involved when reviewing the lease.  Dale is honest about shale development and is able to put a difficult subject matter into an easily digestible presentation.

Educating the crowd on hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, Mr. Arnold addressed the rumors regarding the practice. He informs the crowd hydraulic fracturing has been around since the 1950s in Ohio.  He confirms that the fracturing solution is composed almost entirely of water and sand — on average 99.5 percent — with the remaining 0.5 percent made up of materials and products you could just as easily find at the barbershop.  He urged folks to go to for more information on the process.

The second part of the presentation features Mike McCormac detailing the history of energy development in the state, as well as what to expect in the future from the Utica.  Most of what Mr. McCormac’s talks about relates to  Senate Bill 165, which passed the Ohio legislature in 2010 and was signed into law by Gov. Strickland.  SB 165 represented a major update and revision to Ohio oil and gas law, strengthening what was already considered one of the most robust regulatory programs on oil and gas in the country (a fact confirmed by the recent independent review of the state’s regulations by the stakeholder group STRONGER).

The presentation was very informative, providing honest, straightforward answers on the most important questions of the day.  The program lasted roughly 1:45 with about 15 minutes at the end for questions and answers.  If the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Ohio Department of Natural Resources road show comes to your town, I strongly recommend attending.

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