Salt Fork town hall to focus on fracking, climate change and protecting environment


Salt Fork town hall to focus on fracking, climate change and protecting environment

A free Town Hall to educate Ohioans about wild birds, energy production in Ohio, fracking and climate change will be held Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Salt Fork State Park lodge in Lore City, Ohio.

Speakers include: Randi Pokladnik, Ph.D., on “The Effects of Fracking on Mesophytic Forest Ecosystems;” Judy Comeau Hart from FaCT, a faith-based Ohio group that educates and  organizes communities for a just transition to renewable energy sources, sustainable practices, and policies that address climate change; Chris Lamb of the Canton Audubon Society on “Purple Martins and a Passenger Pigeon: The Birds in my Ohio Life”; and a presentation on climate change.

A 20-minute, animated film called “Stand Up” which educates parents and children about the dangers of fracking, will be screened, along with a 20-minute film from Form Energy, a Weirton, West Virginia-based manufacturer of iron/air batteries that store up to 100 hours of energy from commercial wind and solar systems.

Environmental groups from across Ohio will fill tables with informational literature and material. Lunch can be purchased at the Salt Fork lodge or in local restaurants.

To attend the Town Hall, RSVP to

Educational event

“We’re very concerned about the need to educate Ohioans on how what we do to the environment manifests itself in weather and climate changes that include hurricanes, tornadoes, massive floods wildfires and droughts,” said Randi Pokladnik, a member of Concerned Citizens of Ohio, which organized the Town Hall. “We also want to educate people on the effects dangerous and often irrevocable effects fracking has on air and water quality, noise and light pollution, the environment and plant and animal habitats. We’ll discuss how greenhouse gases and methane emissions from fracking accelerate climate change. The more people know, the faster they’ll become motivated to take proactive measures to help us keep climate warming to 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Pokladnik holds a Ph.D. degree in environmental science and has been an environmental author and activist for 50 years.

“Stand Up” features characters Mama Deer, Baby Deer and various forest animals who hear their park is about to fracked and want humans to help protect it.  

The film was created by Jenny Morgan of Columbus. Morgan is a singer, songwriter, and environmental and public health advocate. She is also a preschool teacher and founded the Leave No Child Inside Central Ohio Collaborative, a nonprofit encouraging youth of all ages to get outside in nature.

Morgan and Pokladnik are steering committee members for Save Ohio Parks, a statewide, all-volunteer organization concerned about fracking under Ohio state parks and public lands.

Salt Fork on fracking list

With implementation of a new state law, Salt Fork State Park of Lore City, Ohio, is the first park on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) list proposed for fracking. At least two unnamed oil and gas companies want to frack the entire 20,000-acre park, including land in six townships in Guernsey County, with an unspecified number of frack pads in locations as close as 400 feet from park border. State law shields the companies that want to frack public lands from being identified.

The Ohio Oil and Gas Land Management Commission, which is tasked by the ODNR to approve or deny fracking under Ohio’s public lands, voted Sept. 18 to open bids Oct. 1 to oil companies to frack four parcels of Ohio Department of Transportation land along public right of way roadways in eastern and southeastern Ohio. A motion to open Valley Run Wildlife Area, Zepernick Wildlife Area, Salt Fork State Park, and Wolf Run State Park to fracking was tabled until an October meeting on a date yet to be determined.

Health and climate hazards

New University of Pittsburgh research says people who live within a mile of a fracked well pad experience increased asthma, with children experiencing increased cases of a rare blood cancer called lymphoma. A mile is 5,280 feet long.

Salt Fork and Wolf Run state parks and Valley Run and Wolf Run wildlife areas sit over vast reserves of Utica and Marcellus Shale, which the oil and gas industry covets. The Marcellus shale basin has been ranked by ClimateTRACE as second in the nation and fourth worldwide for greenhouse gas emissions. Those emissions include methane leaks and flares from oil and gas fracking operations and transportation. Methane is 80 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide in a 20-year time span.

ClimateTRACE is an international coalition of researchers and scientists who access satellite data and AI from more than 80,000 sources around the world to document, inventory, and rank greenhouse gas emissions in real time.

Fracking noise, increased traffic and destruction of forests and wildlife habitats industrialize rural areas and destroy animal, plant and insect habitats that could spur their extinction.

The fracking process also drains up to 16 million gallons of surface water per fracked well from lakes, rivers and streams with unregulated toxic chemicals, and trucks them away to be stored in deep underground injection sites, effectively making that water unusable forever. There are 226 underground wastewater injection storage sites in Ohio.

One well can be fracked multiple times and produce methane gas for up to 20 years. The operation of four fracking injection storage sites in Torch, Ohio, near Athens was suspended Sept. 7 by the ODNR because fracking wastewater, also called “produced water,” had spread 1.5 miles underground and was rising to the surface through oil and gas production wells in Athens and Washington counties. The ODNR called the sites an “imminent danger” to health and the environment.

Save Ohio Parks urges Ohioans to write personal letters explaining why fracking should not be allowed at Salt Fork. Comments on fracking should be submitted by September 25 to  Email Subject lines should read “Comments on Nomination #23-DNR-0009.”

To learn more about fracking in Ohio state parks and public lands, visit the Save Ohio Parks website at

Photo: Pennsylvania fracking pad, by Ted Auch / FracTracker Alliance.

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