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Ohio Legislative Panel OKs New Drilling Rules

A state legislative panel in Ohio has approved new rules for horizontal oil and gas drilling amid a shale exploration boom in the state. A rule-setting committee cleared the guidelines without discussion Monday. They relate to drilling permits, well construction and set other industry standards for horizontal hydraulic fracturing primarily in the Utica and Marcellus shale formations. A state Department of Natural Resources spokesman says the rules are expected to go into effect Aug. 1. Committee Chairman Larry Wolpert says the panel must clear or reject rules based on technical criteria and not policy. He says there were no written or oral objections. State natural resources director James Zehringer  sent a letter Friday assuring nearly 1,400 oil and gas producers the technical rules would be both environmentally safe and business-friendly.