Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fracking in Ohio's State Parks, Good News, Next Move to Amend Ohio Conference Call

Fracking in Ohio’s Parks

Industrial horizontal drilling with massive slick water hydraulic fracturing (also known as “fracking”) not only fractures natural bedrock (to obtain natural gas) but also fractures the bedrock of our democracy. In 2004, the decision to drill (basically a local zoning issue) was taken away from local communities and placed in the hands of a state “regulatory” agency. The budget of that regulatory agency (the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, ODNR) is directly tied to the number of permits issued — meaning the more permits approved, the more money to ODNR. The actions of out-of-state drilling corporations are shielded by the ODNR and compliant state officials who ripped the local right-to-decide authority from local communities. The state how wants to engage in this hightly risky procedure in the state’s parks. Below is info (and a sign-on letter) calling for a moratorium of drilling.

Friends of Environmental Justice ...

An issue that is facing many other states across the country has reached Ohio ... fracking. We ask that you consider taking action on two fronts. Time is critical .... please respond ASAP.

1. gathering/signing the fracking moratorium letter (copied below)

An effort by a coalition of local citizen groups and statewide organizations has resulted in the creation of a fracking moratorium letter.

It is vital that we get as many signatures as possible on this letter. DEADLINE MARCH 5 by close of business.

The letter will not be on anyone’s letterhead. Organizational sign-on’s will be listed first and individuals listed second (both in alphabetical order)

To sign on just “forward” this e-mail or send to Tmills@chej.or

Fill in the information below:

Organization name:

Your name:

City and State:

Are you signing on for the organization?

Are you signing on only for yourself?

Please forward this e-mail to others you think would be interested in supporting this effort. Thank you.

2. call your representatives about HB 133, which will threaten ALL land owned or controlled by the state, will “create the Oil and Gas Leasing Board and to establish a procedure by which the Board may enter into leases for oil and gas production on land owned or under the control of a state agency”

The State of Ohio owns thousands of acres: state forests, state nature preserves (as the park system collapses, they've downgraded management to nature preserves), mental hospitals, which were originally founded as farms to defray expenses and provide rehabilitiation. Some of the rural state prisons also began as farm operations and there is excess acreage associated with some of them. It also implicitly authorizes offshore drilling in Lake Erie on state-owned submerged lands. Even the OSU experimental farm west of downtown Columbus could be drilled upon the way this is written. All that is OURS, NOT THEIRS. And parks, too.

(1) It makes it state policy not only to permit, but to promote and support the exploitation of oil and gas on state lands – a terrible and dangerous policy.

(2) It sets up a Oil and Gas Leasing Board, made up of 3 members appointed by the Governor, 2 industry reps, and one environmental representative. Decisions on leases can be made by a quorum of 3 members – so, what possible influence or power will one lone environmental member have? NONE! And, where is the representation from communities? Public health? Local government?

(3) In order to encourage lease bid submissions and the consequent development of all oil and gas reserves, all of the information contained in the bid is confidential and may not be released. So, land held in public trust can be exploited, drilled, covered with pipelines, cleared, etc. with no knowledge about who is being given a lease to do what, under what conditions, and no opportunity to be heard in the decision making.

The bill can be found at

It's been some time since we've sent out info, but we have been hard at work. An official announcement will be sent out in the near future, but for now, we would like you to know that as the board of OHEJ has worked on creating an independent statewide 501(C)3 organization, one of the changes that occurred was a name change ... from Ohioans for Health, Environment and Justice to Ohioans for People and Environment (OAPE). Most of the same people who have helped with the efforts of OHEJ continue to work as OAPE.

Vickie Askins
Wood County Citizens Opposed to Factory Farms

Sherry Fleming
Williams County Alliance


Ohio General Assembly
Columbus, OH 43215
March 7, 2011

Dear Members of the 129th Ohio General Assembly:

The plans for industrial-scale drilling in the Marcellus and Utica formations of Ohio pose a direct and material threat to the interests of the undersigned organizations and our tens of thousands of individual members throughout the State of Ohio.

The use of high volume hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling of the deep shale formation presents significant risk to public health, safety and the environment. As the use of this relatively new technology has increased nationally, the number of documented spills, blowouts, leaking wells, and other accidents is shocking and the environmental and human consequences have been very serious. For example:

· An explosion and fire at the Chesapeake Appalachia LLC Powers gas well site in Avella, PA, injured three workers on February 23, 2011. DEP investigators reportedly found the fire started as a result of fumes escaping five tanks capable of holding a total of 21,000 gallons of flammable fluid known as wet gas or condensate, contained in natural gas.

· Methane and other toxins contaminated an aquifer serving 19 families in Dimock, Pennsylvania, resulting in a $4.1 million dollar settlement against Cabot Oil and Gas.

· Wells in Sublette County, Wyoming, contaminated with a variety of toxic compounds used in hydraulic fracturing, including benzene, a toxic chemical known to cause leukemia and aplastic anemia, at 1500 times the safe level for people. Similarly, 1.6 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluids escaped into the ground water in Parachute, Colorado

· A study by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality found that pollutants from natural gas drilling in the Barnett Shale field were greater than those produced by all of the vehicular traffic in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

In addition, the withdrawal of millions of gallons of fresh water required for such operations’ hydraulic fracturing cycle will not only significantly impact Ohio’s water resources, but seriously infringe upon the constitutionally protected property rights in groundwater for an untold number of landowners. Further, due to the absence of local zoning and surface property protections, and use of mandatory pooling, landowners face losing essential property interests.


Now for Some Good News!

The Richmond, California City Council just voted unanimously for the Resolution to Free Democracy from Corporate Control

Supreme Court: Corporations don’t have ‘personal privacy’ rights


Monthly Conference Call
Saturday, March 5, 11:00 AM
Call in #: 1-218-862-7200
Access Code: 744213


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