Oil Leak Probed By EPA Amid Doubts Over Ohio Chemical Reporting Law

"COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Federal environmental regulators are investigating a January chemical emergency at an Ohio oil well and asking why an inventory of the facility's chemicals wasn't available to local authorities, according to a letter released Wednesday by a coalition of activists."

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirmed its investigation of the Jan. 16 incident near St. Marys in Auglaize County in an April 26 letter to the coalition. The alliance comprising the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, the Sierra Club, ProgressOhio and others said it received the letter May 31.

The groups had asked the federal EPA to review the St. Marys oil leak as well as alleged Clean Water Act violations in a separate Youngstown case to see if the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' oil and gas regulatory program is working effectively. The coalition proposes that the federal government take back its oversight responsibilities in the state.

Its complaint alleged that Ohio has been out of compliance with the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, or EPCRA, under which chemical inventories are to be publicly available, since 2001. In that year, state lawmakers passed a law 'that essentially exempts the oil and gas industry operating in this state from requirements (of the federal law),' the activists said."

Julie Carr Smyth reports for the Associated Press June 26, 2013.

Source: AP, 06/27/2013