Ohio Environment Being Safeguarded

Radical environmentalists probably will take advantage of an opening for a new Ohio government watchdog over air, water and ground quality to demand a change in state policy. A harsher standard for regulating industry should be adopted, they have maintained.

But state Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Nally’s record during his three years at the agency argues against it.

Nally announced this week he is leaving the OEPA post, after a tenure in which he was charged specifically with safeguarding the environment while avoiding action that would hamper businesses unreasonably. Gov. John Kasich will have to appoint a successor.

A massive expansion of gas and oil drilling and processing in Ohio has occurred on Nally’s watch. During that time, the OEPA has regulated drillers strictly. Enforcement actions against those who dump drilling waste illegally are proof of that.

Some radicals insist “fracking” – the hydraulic fracturing process used at most wells – harms the environment. Not enough is being done to limit fracking, they insist.

But during the past three years, state officials have confirmed six cases of water contamination related to drilling. Not one involved fracking.

Nally’s philosophy has been a good one. Kasich should appoint a successor whose views are along the same lines.