Official testifying on Ohio fracking oversight

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s top oil and gas regulator is in Washington to endorse state rather than federal oversight of fracking and the disposal of wastewater from drilling.

Rick Simmers, chief of the state’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources, told The Associated Press he’ll focus his testimony before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Wednesday on Ohio’s strong regulations and positive track record of enforcement.

Ohio, Utah and Texas will be represented.

His appearance follows calls last month by a coalition of environmental and community groups for a federal review of Ohio’s state-run program.

Groups including the Buckeye Forest Council cited recent federal indictments of a Youngstown-area businessman and his employee for alleged illegal dumping of oil and gas waste, and a series of earthquakes near Youngstown among their concerns.

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