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Oil, Gas Drilling In Lake Erie Now Banned By State Law

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is giving some added authority to the federal ban on Lake Erie drilling. Kasich on Wednesday signed an executive order at a Fish Ohio Day event in Port Clinton. It puts in place a state directive to accompany an already existing federal ban. Spokesman Rob Nichols said past governors have traditionally echoed the federal ban with a state-level order, but that such an order was never signed by former Gov. Ted Strickland. Kasich was joined at the event by Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Nally, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Jim Zehringer and local tourism officials. Ohio’s drilling industry is denouncing yesterday’s executive order by Gov. Kasich. "What we're doing is we're setting off nearly half of the potential natural gas reserves for the foreseeable future that Ohio could enjoy, and I'm not sure that's good stewardship for the public interest," said Tom Stewart, who lobbies for the oil industry at the Statehouse. Environmentalists have applauded the move. They say it’s an important safety guard in case Congress repeals the federal ban on drilling in the lake.