Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Corner: Fracking Ohio’s public lands | News, Sports, Jobs

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Ohio HB 507 was rushed by way of the “lame duck” session without having any public comments. This bill, which facilitates fracking on our public lands, becomes a law on April 7. As soon as that occurs, the Ohio Oil and Gas Land Management Commission will be in manage of leasing processes. They are building guidelines and lease agreement types for the state parcels “nominated for fracking.” Nevertheless, till the guidelines are in location, leases can be executed “without public notices, without having public comments, and without having competitive bidding or oversight by the commission to defend the public interests.”

As opposed to New York, which banned fracking primarily based on various overall health research, Ohio has embraced the market with open arms and a lackadaisical attitude toward regulations guarding the land, air, water and citizens’ overall health. Our state lands are now open for oil and gas extraction and we are faced with an not possible activity: attempting to preserve our forests and parks from an extractive market. In a February meeting of the commission, Ohio citizens asked for a minimum 60-day comment period, advance notification of the parcels becoming deemed, parcel details like maps, and elements becoming deemed in generating choices.

I attended the March 1 commission meeting, but citizens have been prohibited from speaking or asking inquiries. Alternatively, the majority of the meeting was allocated to the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD), who discussed their really profitable lengthy-term association with the oil and gas market and their template for lease agreements.

Even though the MWCD claims their mission is flood reduction, conservation, and recreation, following their presentation, one particular may possibly say their mission is to make income, lots of income. In truth, “no one particular has benefited financially as a lot as the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District Ohio’s No. 1 beneficiary of drilling.”

The MWCD has produced millions of dollars on water sales, fracking leases, and royalties. Also, the MWCD gathers costs from boaters who use the lakes, property leases, park costs, income from timbering, and costs from flood protection assessments.

Citing the MWCD royalty variety (18%-20%) as a template, the commission set 12.five % as the minimum royalty charge for state lands, saying they “are in all probability leaving dollars on the table.” There is small doubt our state lands are becoming viewed as income makers, not public lands exactly where Ohio’s citizens can delight in nature or exactly where biodiversity is protected. Ohio’s citizens personal these lands and tax dollars assistance these agencies, but it is doubtful we will have a seat at the table when it comes to deciding which lands can be leased.

Muskingum’s land manager Nate Wilson, described how their leases (MWCD) “require extra setbacks (three,000 feet), testing, and extra containment facilities in case of accidents.” But, their input into the course of action ends there. The Ohio Division of Organic Sources has shown they lack the capability to enforce violations or levy fines and the market advantages from exemptions of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Secure Drinking Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Emergency Preparing and Neighborhood Ideal-to Know Act.

MWCD Executive Director Craig Butler stated they (MWCD) “do not place surface building on MWCD lands, but we do have pipeline access and gathering line access and water lines and these sorts of items.” It is nevertheless unclear if our state lands will be impacted by drilling pads. Businesses could possibly use a “separate written surface use agreement” to construct properly pads on state lands.

The widespread use of higher-stress hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has turned rural places of SE Ohio into industrial zones. I travel along Routes 151, 250 and 646 in the Tappan Lake location of the MWCD watershed and see endless pipelines cutting across hillsides. Wells pads, access roads, water withdraw lines and infrastructure are devouring the landscape. Is this what we want for our state lands?

A lot of Ohioans chose to reside in rural places mainly because of the beauty the forests and hills supply. True stewards of the atmosphere defend valuable sources for future generations they do not destroy them for monetary gains. No quantity of income or extravagant marina is worth exposing our young children to toxic chemical substances and pollution from an unregulated market. Our rural communities have come to be sacrificial zones at the mercy of the fossil fuel market.

Proponents of fracking only tout the monetary gains and continue to ignore the lengthy-term overall health effects related with fracking. They ignore the increases in methane emissions which are fueling climate modify and contributing to the collapse of ecosystems globe-wide. They let radioactive leachate to enter our waterways. They overlook the millions of gallons of radioactive developed water and carcinogenic chemical substances that travel along our rural roads each and every day. Accidents involving trucks and tankers have enhanced by 14 % in fracked places of Ohio.

The current train derailment in East Palestine reminds us of how quickly one particular error can permanently alter the lives of thousands of people today and forever taint the atmosphere. Till Ohio puts overall health, security, and a clean atmosphere ahead of the interests of the fossil fuel market, we can only wonder what will be left of our state lands and rural communities in the aftermath of this rush to frack.


Randi Pokladnik, Ph.D., of Uhrichsville, is a retired investigation chemist who volunteers with Mid Ohio Valley Climate Action. She has a doctorate degree in Environmental Research and is certified in Hazardous Supplies Regulations.

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