Judge to consider Ohio authority to regulate injection wells

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A judge in Columbus is preparing to hear arguments in a dispute over Ohio’s authority to regulate oil-and-gas operations, including wells disposing of fracking wastewater.

Attorneys for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the operator of a Youngstown-area wastewater injection well address Judge Kimberly Cocroft on Tuesday.

At issue is the department’s power to take action against the well, which disposes of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing and sits nearby at least 20 small seismic events that occurred in 2014.

American Water Management Services disputes the legal authority of the oil-and-gas chief at the department to take action against its well. The company also claims state actions against its well defy science.

State regulators believe the 2014 tremors tapped the same fault as a 4.0-magnitude earthquake in Youngstown in 2011.