I had someone reach out to me over on iNat informing me of some recent legal changes that could open the door to drilling operations in Ohio state parks. I was able to find a handful of articles about this and it’s definitely recent. Due to the negative environmental impacts that operations like this tend to have, I would rather not see this happen.
Anyone else have thoughts to share or suggestions for actions that could be taken?
It varies state by state, but maybe there’s a native plant, animal, or environmental society in Ohio that’s already aware of this and maybe trying to lobby against this? If so, get involved with them.
An iNat-centered option is to take a look at who observes in Ohio, look at their profiles to see if they’re involved with any potentially affected organizations, create a journal post in your profile with the same information that’s in this topic, and tag them in a comment.
the first article seems to say that there’s a particular company that wants to access the minerals underneath a park but that the surface activities may not actually occur within the park. (instead, they would use directional drilling to access the formations under the park.)
that would still mean that you could have noise and air and other pollution near the park and that if something goes wrong underground, you could have effects on the surface (gas leaks, sulfur leaks, earthquakes, etc.) or if you have some sort of accident on the surface, you could have spills of junk that could pollute nearby land and water, possibly affecting areas in the park.
the article says that this particular company is already producing from other state lands. do they have a good track record for how they operate at those locations?
i guess what i’m getting at is that gas drilling is not necessarily going to mess up the state parks (although it certainly could). to me, i think the key is that the stewards of the park and the watchdogs just need to be vigilant, advise the companies on ways to prevent impacts to the most sensitive areas, and advocate for change and mitigations when situations need to be rectified. i think this is really not that much different than managing the state parks in the first place and allowing people to camp or hunt on them, etc. those kinds of activities can usually be sited appropriately and be done responsibly and with minimal impact, given the right guidance and supervision.
in other words, if it’s inevitable, then i think it’s better to be involved in the stewardship than to be 100% NIMBY opposition from the sidelines. of course, if there’s a track record of companies in Ohio polluting a lot of the land that they extract from, then i guess i would be a lot more cautious. but if that’s the case, i would think the only recourse you would have is to get your legislators and other politicians to reverse the laws, or possibly fight things in court, if you can find some sort of angle to challenge these activities based on law.