Quantcast

Ohioans Speak Out Against Fracking in State Parks

Energy

Coalition to Protect Ohio’s Parks

More than 50 Ohioans converged at Quail Hollow State Park to protest leasing and fracking in state parks. Photo Courtesy of Bill Baker, Frack Free Ohio

On Sunday, Oct. 21 more than 50 Ohioans converged at Quail Hollow State Park to protest the leasing and fracking of the park through a controversial legal maneuver known as “unitization.” The event, which included a hike and discussion forum, was led by the Buckeye Forest Council, Ohio Environmental Council, Sierra Club of Ohio and Mohican Advocates.
 
Unitization is a decades-old, almost never-used Ohio law that allows oil and gas companies to force unwilling property owners to surrender their land to drilling and fracking. “The Quail Hollow unitization essentially forced every citizen in Ohio to surrender their land,” said John Makley of Mohican Advocates.
 
“The public had no say in the process,” said Melanie Houston, director of Environmental Policy and Environmental Health for the Ohio Environmental Council. The state legislature opened Ohio’s parks to fracking in the summer of 2011, provided that any park land at issue go through public comment and a formal review and nomination process. However, Chesapeake Energy’s special unitization order allowed the company to avoid the public input and review process. “The unitization of Quail Hollow shut out the public from the opportunity to have full knowledge of and comment on this use of their publicly-owned resource,” Houston stated.
 
“Ohio’s unitization law was passed decades ago to resolve disputes between oil and gas companies and was not intended to be a back door into the public’s parks,” said Nathan Johnson, staff attorney for the Buckeye Forest Council. Until the shale rush hit, the law was largely forgotten and almost never used. “The oil and gas industry has rediscovered unitization as a tool to take what it wants from an unwilling public,” added Johnson.
 
“Shockingly, the only legal rationale for unitization is more money for the oil and gas industry,” said Johnson. Oil and gas companies can legally force unitization if doing so is deemed “reasonably necessary” to “substantially” increase their profits.
 
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued a unitization order on July 10 that enabled Chesapeake Energy to force-pool a four-acre portion of the park along with land held by 23 property owners who refused to sign a lease with the company.
 
“The idea that Chesapeake needed Quail Hollow to substantially increase its profits is not acceptable—the four unitized acres of the park are at the extreme southeastern-most tip of a 959-acre drilling unit,” said Loraine McCosker, co-chair of the Forests and Public Lands Committee of the Ohio Sierra Club. “ODNR’s irrational decision makes the agency partly responsible for this betrayal of the public trust,” added McCosker.
 
“Our walk today in the woods of Quail Hollow State Park showed us the beauty that inspired the idea of setting aside land to serve as reservoirs of Ohio's natural heritage for all Ohioans to enjoy,” said Makley. “The idea of exploiting that land for short-term gain serves only to fill the pockets of the few at the expense of the many for generations to come."

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

--------

The Coalition to Protect Ohio's Parks envisions an Ohio where our state parks and public forests are forever kept as places free from industrial development so that they may continue to serve as reservoirs of biodiversity, natural beauty and recreational opportunities.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Navajo Nation has suffered from limited freshwater resources as a result of climate, insufficient infrastructure, and contamination. They collaborated with NASA to develop the Drought Severity Evaluation Tool. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.

Read More Show Less
Wild Exmoor ponies graze on a meadow in the Czech Republic. rapier / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Nanticha Ocharoenchai

In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less

Despite huge strides in improving the lives of children since 1989, many of the world's poorest are being left behind, the United Nations children's fund UNICEF warned Monday.

Read More Show Less
At least seven people have died in a Bangladesh pipeline explosion. Youtube screenshot

At least seven people were killed when a gas pipeline exploded in Bangladesh Sunday, and another 25 were injured, the Associated Press reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Shell Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes, Washington. John Westrock / Flickr

The Washington Department of Ecology responded to an oil spill that took place Friday night when a Crowley Maritime Barge was transferring five million gallons of oil to the Shell Puget Sound Refinery, CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Claire L. Jarvis

A ruckus over biofuels has been brewing in Iowa.

Read More Show Less
Serena and Venus Williams have been known to follow a vegan diet. Edwin Martinez / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Whitney E. Akers

  • "The Game Changers" is a new documentary on Netflix that posits a vegan diet can improve athletic performance in professional athletes.

  • Limited studies available show that the type of diet — plant-based or omnivorous — doesn't give you an athletic advantage.

  • We talked to experts about what diet is the best for athletic performance.

Packed with record-setting athletes displaying cut physiques and explosive power, "The Game Changers," a new documentary on Netflix, has a clear message: Vegan is best.

Read More Show Less