The Ohio Attorney General has issued his legal opinion on whether counties can sell water for the drilling and hydraulic fracturing process.
In May, Shawn Hervey - then-Harrison County Prosecutor - asked Attorney General Mike DeWine whether or not counties can sell water to oil and gas companies. Furthermore, Hervey asked if county commissioners can enter into a multi-year contract with a private company to broker such sales.
On Monday, DeWine issued his opinion, which stated that counties may sell water on a case-by-case basis to oil and gas companies, but that - under no circumstances - may a county allow a for-profit company to broker sales.
DeWine said, in his decision, that an increase in drilling operations in Ohio "has created a need for large quantities of water to stimulate vertical and horizontal wells."
Harrison County led the state in permitting activity in May. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources reports that it issued 16 permits to three companies last month, bringing Harrison County's total number of permits up to 98.