On Monday, April 9th the Ohio Chapter Sierra Club filed suit against the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to reveal plans for drilling in State Parks, forests, and public lands.  The Sierra Club’s outstanding public request for lease agreements and guidelines for drilling activity were being ignored.

“Ohioan’s have the right to know about the backroom deals being made to bring fracking into our State parks,” said Jed Thorp, Manager of the Sierra Club’s Ohio Chapter.  “The reckless natural gas industry has no place fracking on some of our state’s most beautiful public lands.”

In September 2011, House Bill 133 opened Ohio’s state parks to oil and gas fracking.  This legislation also established a centralized program for nominating all state lands for drilling through a newly created “Oil and Gas Leasing Commission” subject to lease terms designed to protect environmental quality.

“The mission of the Department of Natural Resources is to provide oversight of state forests and parks in Ohio,” said Bob Kyle Forest and Public Lands Committee Co-Chair. “HB 133 violates this trust for future generations by allowing irrevocable surface and mineral impacts. Ohioans have lost faith in the mission of ODNR and view its actions as supporting the oil and gas industry rather than Ohio citizens who depend on public lands for recreation and  environmental services”.  After six months, ODNR has yet to make records available or to provide explanation as to why they have not done so.

The lawsuit, filed this morning in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, cites multiple requests by the Sierra Club – including written and certified mail requests – to obtain public records related to ODNR’s oil and gas leasing guidelines.  Hopefully Sierra Club’s actions will shed light on to ODNR’s plans for fracking our state parks, because Sierra Club is not the only public interest groups that is being ignored.

Explore, Enjoy, and Protect!