New Ohio oil and gas incident notification rule goes into effect today

Following years of effort and debate, a new rule for oil and gas incident notifications in Ohio is set to go into effect today. The new rule (Rule 1501:9 8 02) streamlines the process for reporting incidents, amends and clarifies what constitutes an incident that requires notification, and specifies what information must be provided in that report.

This outcome has been years in the making. The Kasich administration had attempted to enact new emergency notification requirements through the bi-annual budget bill, House Bill 64. However, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was not satisfied with the new regulations in HB 64 once they passed the legislature and requested that Gov. Kasich veto the provisions. Gov. Kasich agreed and issued the veto, but stated that he would seek greater notification requirements through executive order.

ODNR then went about enacting changes to the incident notification regulations by way of the rule-making process. In the meantime, Gov. Kasich issued an emergency executive order on Aug. 10, 2016, to amend the process and requirements for response to oil and gas emergencies. Finally, on Nov. 28, 2016, the new rule was adopted and scheduled to take effect today, Dec. 8, 2016, replacing Gov. Kasich’s emergency rule.

Highlights of the new rule include:
  • A one-call point of contact for reporting incidents.
  • Requiring notification within 30 minutes of an incident.
  • Setting thresholds for the amounts of released or leaked oil and gas that require notification.
  • Requiring certain contractors to notify a reporting person within 30 minutes if they are aware of an incident.
  • Describing the information that must be provided with the notification.
  • Requiring follow-up reporting within 30 days for the release of specified substances.
This rule change adds another dynamic to how a company navigates an operational incident to ensure both compliance with the law and to protect itself against potential future litigation.

For more than 15 years, McDonald Hopkins’ attorneys have assisted clients in connection with dozens of gas-related incidents and have helped coordinate their response to such emergency events. If your company needs assistance with the development of internal policies to ensure compliance with this new rule and coordination of your company’s response to reportable incidents, please contact one of the attorneys listed below or another member of our Energy team.

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