Ohio has begun issuing its first permits for deep injection of chemically-laced wastewater from oil and gas drilling since a New Year's Eve quake in Youngstown prompted an unofficial statewide moratorium on new wells.
The head of the state's Division of Oil and Gas Resources says the first four new permits will go out today to sites in Athens, Portage and Washington counties. Rick Simmers says another 28 sites will be permitted in small batches in coming months. He says state natural resources officials believe new regulations include ample safeguards to protect against future quakes. The governor imposed a moratorium surrounding a Youngstown well after a series of a dozen quakes that included one of 4.0 magnitude were linked to activity there. Simmers says that facility remains idle.