Columbus, Ohio - The Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee rekindled a debate about allowing fracking to occur in Ohio’s State Parks, Forests, and Nature Preserves this week during considerations of House Bill 8 (Hagan). The bill established a fast-track provision, which would have forced approval of fracking in portions of parks, forests, and preserves. This bill sought to amend the process laid out in the previously passed House Bill 133 (2011), which opened up Ohio’s public lands to fracking and established a “public lands leasing commission” required to approve permits. The Governor has instituted a “de facto moratorium” on drilling in these areas by refusing to appoint members to this leasing commission. HB 8 would have circumvented the Governor’s decision not to drill in these areas by working around the commission and utilizing a process called “forced pooling.”
An amendment was carried forward in HB 8 earlier this week (attachment), which added protections to these sensitive areas. The Ohio Sierra Club worked with allies at the Ohio Environmental Council to help educate the committee members about how drilling would impact Ohio’s most sensitive public lands.
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