Karen Kasler/Ohio Public Radio

  Once again, an increase in the state’s tax on oil and natural gas drillers will not be a part of the budget.

But Republican lawmakers are talking up what they say is a new step forward for the discussion – a method that’s has been used time and again in state government.

It looked like it was going to be a big deal.

Raising the tax on oil and gas drillers has been a major issue in Ohio. But just when it seemed like policymakers were poised to take a big step towards a change, other issues got in the way.

Going back-and-forth on the severance tax seems to be a new annual tradition between Gov. John Kasich’s administration and the oil and gas industry. Legislators from the House and Senate are also in the mix—falling into both camps.

Ohio EPA

One of the still hotly contested debates over fracking is whether the practice of extracting trapped gas underground contaminates drinking water. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati are using an expensive machine to determine whether, at least in eastern Ohio, any contamination is naturally occurring or from fracking.

There's no shortage of negative publicity when it comes to fracking. Take the 2010 documentary "Gasland."

The Threat of Hydraulic Fracturing Waste

Apr 5, 2013

The fracking process used to extract natural gas has been vilified for the millions of gallons of fresh water it uses, and the amount of waste water it produces. But drilling also generates leftover dirt, rocks, and mud that gets trucked off to landfills. Many people have raised concerns about the potential contaminants in that dirt, and whether it poses an environmental threat. WCPN's Michelle Kanu tells us now about the radioactive nature of that waste, and what the state is doing to keep tabs on it.