COLUMBUS -- Another state lawmaker is calling for a codified ban on drilling for oil and gas under Lake Erie.
Sen. Mike Skindell, D-Lakewood, offered sponsor testimony Tuesday before the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee on SB 87, which he said will protect the lake from oil spills and other environmental harm.
"The 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is one of the many accidents that have happened while drilling for oil and natural gas," Skindell said. "The effects of even a small-scale accident like this would be devastating to our state. In addition to the environmental damage, the state would see lost revenue of great magnitude and many jobs lost."
The bill is comparable to legislation introduced in the Ohio House that had a hearing earlier this year.
It's also in line with a federal ban on drilling in the Great Lakes and a similar executive order issued by Gov. John Kasich last year.
But Skindell wants to add language to Ohio Revised Code to ensure those prohibitions remain in place in the future, since there's nothing currently in state law banning oil and gas drilling under Lake Erie.
"Lake Erie is a vital part of our state, and its impact is felt beyond just the northeast Ohio area," Skindell said. "The lake provides a great ecosystem, which drives millions of dollars in tourism, fishing, shipping and agriculture."
He added, "... It is essential to protect this state treasure from potentially disastrous conditions."