Meet the Oil and Gas Land Management Commission


Meet the Oil and Gas Land Management Commission

The Ohio and Gas Land Management Commission oversees the nominations and leasing of our public lands to the oil and gas industry. With the passage of Ohio HB 133 in 2011, the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission was created to establish a procedure for leasing land owned or under the control of state agencies for oil and gas production. This commission was not established after public outcry opposing the leasing of our state lands. Gov. John Kasich withdrew nominations to this commission in 2014.  

In 2019 the commission was appointed by Gov. Mike DeWine and became the Ohio Oil and Gas Land Management Commission. The commission is within the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and is overseen by ODNR director Mary Mertz. Director Mertz has appointed a chair of the commission, attorney Ryan Richardson. The four commissioners and chair all have a vote in the approval or denial of a nomination.

Find meeting announcements, lease nominations, meeting and comment archives, and more on the Ohio Oil and Gas Land Management Commission website.

Meet the Commissioners

DeWine appointed four men to the commission to decide the fate of fracking our public lands. By state statute, two must represent the oil and gas industry (Warnock and Wise, attorneys working with the industry), one finance representative (Buehrer, also an attorney) and one lone environmental representative (McGregor who appears to approve of leasing public lands to oil and gas).

Representing Oil and Gas

Matthew Warnock (

His former biography from the Brickler and Eckler law firm reads:

“Matt Warnock serves as the leader of Bricker & Eckler’s Cleveland office and chair of the firm’s Energy Industry Group. Described as a “very dedicated and diligent young lawyer,” Matt focuses his practice on a wide range of energy and “dirt” real estate matters, including a good mix of litigation, policy and transactional work. The breadth of his experience includes everything from building and growing an oil and gas practice from the ground up, serving as an expert witness, handling appellate arguments (including three before the Ohio Supreme Court), serving as lead counsel on real estate and other transactional matters for the development of oil and gas, renewable energy and manufacturing facilities, and leading the firm’s pro bono work with the City of Columbus to #SavetheCrew.”

With the passage of HB 133 in 2011, Warnock co-authored the following publication: Ohio House Bill 133: New Opportunities for Oil and Gas Development on State Lands.

Warnock is now deputy general counsel with One Energy, which builds, owns, and operates major electrical infrastructure for industrial energy users, especially related to wind energy.

Representing Oil and Gas

Michael Wise (

According to his biography on the McDonald Hopkins law firm site:

Mike Wise is a member at McDonald Hopkins, the former co-chair of the firm’s Energy Practice Group and prior chairman of the firm’s Government and Public Finance Group. Wise has extensive experience in the shale industry and is also working directly with a number of advanced / renewable energy companies on finance and regulatory issues.  Prior to joining McDonald Hopkins, Wise was director of Gov. Bob Taft’s Regional Economic Development Office in Cleveland, where he was the senior liaison between the Cleveland business community and the governor. While at the governor’s office, he was involved in numerous major public / private partnerships. Wise continues to assist clients in financially engineering their projects with the assistance of public support. Wise is a former Ohio state representative and former co-chairman of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party.

Representing real estate and finance

Stephen Buehrer (

Partner with Carpenter, Lipps & Leland, lead public policy practice, consulting in workers compensation and insurance. Former state representative and state senator, served as state senate majority whip, chairman of the Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee and chairman of the Highway and Transportation Committee. He was appointed by then-Gov. John Kasich as director of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation until 2016. He also served as vice chairman of the Energy and Public Utilities Committee in addition to his membership on the Health and Judiciary Committees.

As a legislator, he was named National Legislator of the Year by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Representing statewide environmental or conservation organization

Jim McGregor (

Jim McGregor is currently the governmental affairs officer board member for the Ohio Natural Areas and Preserves Association. McGregor worked with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in a variety of positions in the 1970s and 1980s. He was elected to five terms as mayor of Gahanna beginning in 1983. In 2001, McGregor was appointed to and later elected to the 20th Ohio House of Representatives seat. He is the former executive director of League of Conservation Voters. He is now retired and has a small property management business.

Ryan Richardson, Chair (

Deputy Legal Counsel, Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Designated chair to the Oil and Gas Land Management Commission by Director Mary Mertz.

Commission Clerk Nathan Moffit (

Nathan Moffitt is deputy director of legislative affairs at Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Moffitt acts as clerk for the commission, sending out emails regarding the nominations as well as postings of meetings. He has been a resource to the citizens of Ohio in replying to emails and acting as an intermediary with administration.

ODNR Director Mary Mertz (

Mary Mertz serves as director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Gov. Mike DeWine appointed her to this post in January 2019. In this role, Mertz leads and oversees 11 divisions that manage Ohio’s state parks, preserves, and forests; analyze and report on geologic and water resources; protect and improve the Lake Erie coastline; conserve and manage Ohio’s fish and wildlife; and regulate oil, gas, and mining industries. ODNR employees can be found in each of Ohio’s 88 counties, with assignments from the Ohio River to Lake Erie and its islands, and from the east to the western borders of Ohio.

Mertz has been instrumental in advancing DeWine’s initiatives in the H2Ohio water quality program by launching an ambitious effort to restore and create wetlands in key locations across Ohio, focusing on the Lake Erie watershed. She has also led efforts to conserve and protect important land areas for both recreational opportunities and preservation of rare species.

A lawyer with experience in both the public and private sectors, Mertz served as first assistant attorney general during DeWine’s entire tenure in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. In that position she led all legal and operational divisions in advancing the work of the office. She has served in many other government posts as well, including as an advisor for Gov. George Voinovich, chief of staff for Mike DeWine when he served Ohio as the lieutenant governor, as legislative director for Congressman Bob McEwen, and in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.

Contact information:

3 Responses

  1. Pingback : Commission sells out parks and wildlife areas despite public outcry – Save Ohio Parks

  2. karen kindel

    Your pro fracking stance that ignores all the threats to the land, wildlife and people is disgraceful. “Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish caught, will we realize we cannot eat money.”

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