Save Ohio Parks will host a “Rally for State Parks, Climate and Democracy” on Friday, Oct. 27 at noon at the Ohio Statehouse West Plaza (facing High Street) in Columbus.
Ohioans concerned about fracking under state parks and public lands; climate change; and Ohio democracy are invited. Speakers from statewide environmental and democracy organizations, along with live music at the hour-long rally are planned.
Save Ohio Parks is an all-volunteer group working to deny the leasing of Ohio state parks and public lands for fracking.
“Our state legislators want to allow fracking under our beloved state parks and public lands,” said Randi Pokladnik, Ph.D., Save Ohio Parks steering committee member. “’The short-term economic gains — mostly for out-of-state gas and oil companies — are outweighed by the negative effects on Ohio’s citizens. Fracking and fracking infrastructure is linked to increased childhood cancers, fertility, hormone disruption and other diseases; destroys the environment; and releases massive amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Climate change is undeniable. It is here and it is urgent. Scientists tell us we need to stop new fossil fuel projects now, phase natural gas out and embrace green energy in order to reach sustainable climate goals.”
For almost a year, Save Ohio Parks and other statewide environmental organizations have questioned the decision of the legislature, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and the Oil and Gas Land Management Commission (OGLMC) to allow leasing under Ohio’s state parks, wildlife areas, and public lands for fracking.
The governor-appointed commission can approve or deny it, but appears poised to allow it regardless of a myriad of health, climate and geological studies that demonstrate fracking is dangerous to human health; industrializes rural areas and destroys animal, plant and insect environments; increases light, noise and truck traffic; and will drain and contaminate water from Ohio lakes, rivers and streams, taking it out of the water supply forever.
More fracking means more water withdrawals from Ohio surface water and more frack wastewater that contains heavy metals, brine, chemicals and radionuclides. Up to 16 million gallons of water are needed to frack one well, and the resulting wastewater, or “produced water,” is so toxic it must be disposed of in Class II injection wells.
The operation of four fracking waste injection wells near Athens was suspended by the ODNR last month after produced water leaked outside its boundaries and percolated into oil and gas production wells up to two miles away. ODNR called the wells an “imminent danger” to citizen health and the environment.
An ongoing investigation by Ohio Attorney General David Yost is looking into at least 1,100 apparently fraudulent pro-fracking emails submitted to the OGLMC. In comparison, almost 4,000 anti-fracking emails were sent to the commission during its public comment phase through Save Ohio Parks, with hundreds more sent independently through the populace at large.
“Ohio Revised Code 155.33 clearly says the Oil and Gas Land Management Commission has the power to ‘approve or disapprove’ of fracking in public lands such as our state parks and wildlife areas,” said Cathy Cowan Becker, steering committee member for Save Ohio Parks. “Yet the commission chair has repeatedly stated — falsely — that the commission does not have the authority to deny fracking in our state parks and public lands. That is simply not true.”
“We have presented this commission with peer-reviewed scientific research showing the harm fracking does to our climate, health, and environment. We have demonstrated multiple fracking accidents in Ohio and beyond that would devastate our parks. We have shown that fracking is fundamentally incompatible with anything Ohioans want to do at a state park.
“Please join us October 27 at noon at the Statehouse to tell our legislators and the Oil and Gas Land Management Commission that the people of Ohio, who own and use our state parks, wildlife areas, and public lands, do not want them fracked.”
For information on issues surrounding fracking and a list of state parks and wildlife areas nominated for fracking, visit the Save Ohio Parks website at saveohioparks.org.