Our Beautiful Ohio State Parks are slated to be fracked!

Have you heard about H.B. 507, a new Ohio law co-sponsored by Sen. George Lang (West Chester) and Ohio Rep. Sara Carruthers (District 47) that REQUIRES the ODNR to allow fracking House Bill 507 Status | 134th General Assembly | Ohio House of Representatives for natural gas in Ohio’s public lands and state parks.?  

This law was passed without public discussion Newly signed Ohio law defines natural gas as green energy – Farm and Dairy during the lame duck session during the Christmas, 2022 holiday season. The law was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine and goes into effect April 7.  

The Ohio DNR and Ohio Oil and Gas Land Management Commission Oil and gas commission looking to lawmakers for increased royalties, fees – Ohio Capital Journal are tweaking the language on the lease agreements right now. One Public Comment letter to the ODNR/Ohio Oil and Gas Management Commission has identified Salt Fork State Park as one potential park to be fracked. 

Butler County Democratic Party member and concerned citizen, Melinda Zemper, details the implications below and in this article published recently in the Dayton Daily News.

Why should we care?

FRACKING pollutes air, land, water and increases global warming

— Fracking increases global warming temperatures by releasing methane into the air. Methane is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere.

–Fracking is not effectively regulated by state or federal law. The oil industry does not have to disclose its fracking fluid ingredients publicly, yet admits fracking fluid contains toxic chemicals that can poison our groundwater.

–Fracking is dirty. The 2018 Powhatan Point methane leak in Belmont County, Ohio Ohio methane leak may have been one of US’s largest | News | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health was one of the world’s largest methane leak ever, unleashing 200 million metric tons of methane into the atmosphere over 20 days—equaling the annual carbon emissions of France, Norway and the Netherlands.  

–Fracking endangers the ability of us, our children and grandchildren to enjoy pristine, natural public parks and spaces our tax dollars pay for and sustain.

–Fracking risks our air quality and groundwater (drinking water) while ruining our roads, land and future real estate values.

FACTS about fracking and Ohio Big Oil:

  1. Follow the money. Oil and natural gas prices are falling as the world outside Ohio transitions to green energy sources to keep global warming down to 1.5 degrees. Capacity for wind and solar globally will exceed gas and coal by 2024. When will renewable energy overtake coal and gas? | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)
  2. Big Oil companies like Shell, BP, Chevron, TotalEnergies and Exxon-Mobil exploit the war in Ukraine by exporting oil at a time when domestic demand is down. They also gouged Americans at the gas pump last year, yet reported record profits in 2022 of $200 BILLION! Oil companies’ 2022 profits: How much did Exxon, BP and more make? (usatoday.com)
  3. Fracking for natural gas in Ohio creates ethane, which is used to manufacture plastic.
  4. Toxic chemicals in the Norfolk Southern train were headed to Conway, Pa., where a massive “cracker” plant in Monaca, Pa. uses ethane to create plastic pellets.
  5. Only nine percent of all plastic has ever been recycled. The rest litters our oceans and streams, breaks up into nurdles, and is poisoning fish, animals and humans.

Use your voice to take back our parks and stop fracking on Ohio’s public lands and parks:

–Tell family, friends and co-workers about this law (H.B.507) that endangers our treasured parks and public spaces. Learn more about fracking and clean energy sources.

–Post in social media how you feel about fracking in Ohio. Include @MikeDeWine, @LangforOhio and @Sara45013 at the end of your posts.

–Write Letters to the Editor to your local newspapers explaining why you feel  Ohio’s pristine natural refuges and spaces need to be protected from fracking.

–Email or call Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and other state legislators and demand a stop to fracking on state parks and public lands.


What the frack is going on in Ohio state parks and public lands?

H.B. 507, Newly signed Ohio law defines natural gas as green energy – Farm and Dairy known as the “chicken bill,” began as a bill to address poultry sales, but items tacked on included the designation of natural gas as a “green energy,” (it is NOT) and REQUIRING the ODNR to lease Ohio state parks and other public lands for the use of fracking. Gov. Mike  DeWine signed H.B. 507 into law Jan. 6. Despite being calling unconstitutional by the Ohio Environmental Council, the ODNR and Oil and Gas Management Land Commission are working on lease agreement wording now.

What is fracking and why should I care?

Fracking involves the high-pressure injection of water, sand and toxic chemicals deep into the earth to fracture rock, allowing gas and oil to come to the surface. Most of the new oil and gas wells in Ohio have been horizontally-fracked since 2012, which means a well pad can be located on an adjacent land parcel, but your land is actually being fracked. Fracking is dirty for a number of reasons: hydraulic fracking fluid contains toxic chemicals unregulated by the EPA and state of Ohio. This means Big Oil can legally inject toxic chemicals under our groundwater supply; fracking is linked with low-level earthquakes that could allow chemicals to percolate into our groundwater and poison us. Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas: Impacts from the Hydraulic Fracturing Water Cycle on Drinking Water Resources in the United States (Final Report) | EPA’s Study of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources | US EPA; fracking requires a vast amount of fresh water and takes it out of use for better purposes—about four million gallons per well; fracking wastewater is toxic. It is injected deep into the ground and stored, not treated to be made potable; and oil and natural gas wells produce methane leaks.

Methane is 80 percent more potent than carbon dioxide and contributes about 30 percent of all global carbon emissions linked to climate change.

Is there anything good to say about fracking natural gas?

Very little anymore. Natural gas was seen in the early 2000s as a bridge from coal and oil (very dirty energy) to clean, renewable energy such as wind and solar. But now we know how dangerous methane is to our environment. We need to stop drilling today.

Do other states allow or require fracking in their state parks?

Other states allow fracking on public lands, but enforce some form of regulation. Four states have now banned fracking: Vermont, New York, Maryland and Washington. California has banned new fracking projects beginning in 2024. Climate scientists and activists agree we cannot continue using fossil fuels and still prevent irreversible climate warming and increasing weather disasters. Bottom line: Big Oil is actively opposed to laws and regulations that promote clean energy at the expense of its shareholder profits.

How is fracking linked to the growing Ohio-Pennsylvania “Cancer Alley?”

We only have to look as far as Monaca, Pa. to see the connection between fracking, the creation of the Appalachian Petrochemical Hub along the Ohio River, and Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley” to know what’s in store for Ohioans.  More cancers, especially of the lung, stomach and kidney due to toxic chemicals in the air. Monaca is the site of the gargantuan petrochemical refinery just opened in November, 2022 after six years of construction. The Norfolk Southern train filled with toxic chemicals that derailed Feb. 3, 2023, was headed to Conway, just across the street from Monaca.  The Royal Dutch Shell-owned Monaca refinery takes ethane from Ohio and Pennsylvania fracked gas wells and creates ethylene, which is used to produce plastic pellets. Environmental advocacy groups have been fighting the creation of the Appalachian Petrochemical Hub for years.

Who the heck sponsored and supported H.B. 507, anyway?

Butler County state legislators including Sen. George Lang (R-West Chester Bill Sponsors: OH HB507 | 2021-2022 | 134th General Assembly | LegiScan 

 and Rep. Sara Carruthers (R-District 47) helped sponsor this bill.

Why do Ohio Republican lawmakers (much less anyone) want fracking in Ohio state parks and public lands?

Ohio Republican legislators say they want fracking for the creation of for jobs, jobs, jobs, but it’s really about money, money, money, power, power, power– and saving face. The Ohio GOP and JobsOhio made some shortsighted energy decisions in the mid-2000s and invested at least $70 million JobsOhio puts $20 million toward possible petrochemical site (dispatch.com) of taxpayer money into building the Appalachian Petrochemical Hub (the nation’s new “Cancer Alley”), which created the infrastructure to build Ohio injection storage sites for toxic chemical waste and development of a plastics “cracker” petrochemical plant at Monaca, Pa.

The “jobs” these politicians said the oil and gas industry said would create have not panned out The fracking boom is over. Where did all the jobs go? | MIT Technology Review in permanent jobs for many Ohioans.

Let’s face it folks. This is a corrupt administration that has failed all Ohioans.  Look at the Larry Householder bribery and racketeering scandal.  What the guilty verdicts in Ohio’s corruption case mean for energy policy and good government – Ohio Capital Journal

Look at the Feb. 3, 2023 Norfolk Southern train derailment that resulted in a toxic chemical explosion endangering and traumatizing thousands of East Palestine residents forced to flee their homes and animals. Freight railroads agree on safety measures after East Palestine derailment (msn.com)

Now, capacity for wind and solar What’s the state of renewable energy in 2022? | World Economic Forum (weforum.org) is slated to overtake coal and gas by 2024.

The price of natural gas Natural-Gas Prices Plunge, and Drillers Dial Back – WSJ has fallen by 65 percent over the last few months. The public is becoming increasingly more educated about the dangers of plastics, of which only six percent have ever, ever been recycled.

Western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio sit on Marcellus Shale, a great source of natural gas that Big Oil is salivating to exploit as much as it can before the world shifts entirely to clean energy. Gov. Mike DeWine obviously wants to keep Big Oil happy because Big Oil helps keep the Republican Party in power with its campaign donations. And Republican legislators own the state, Party control of Ohio state government – Ballotpedia partly due to gerrymandered voting districts. Republicans can pass any state laws they wish without any Democratic votes.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed H.B. 507 into law on Jan. 6. The new law mandating fracking on our public lands and state parks goes into effect April 7.

Perhaps he thought we wouldn’t notice because of all the other energy-related scandals in Ohio.

But we do. And we care.

What can I do to stop fracking in Ohio’s pristine state parks and public lands?

Tell your friends, family, co-workers; tell your social media connections; tell your state lawmakers and Gov. Mike DeWine you want H.B.507 repealed immediately.

And keep talking. Learn more about these issues in accurate local and state online media and look for updates on the Butler County, Ohio Democratic Party website.

Register to vote. And VOTE for ethical leaders who are dedicated to a clean environment and clean energy.

Who can I contact to tell them to stop fracking and repeal H.B. 507? 

Gov. Mike DeWine Contact Us | Governor Mike DeWine (ohio.gov)

Sen. George Lang (R-West Chester) Senator George F. Lang Contact | Ohio Senate

Rep. Sara Carruthers (R-District 47) Contact Sara P. Carruthers | Ohio House of Representatives

What’s the deadline to get the state of Ohio to stop this law from implementation?

April 7, 2023. But even if the law is implemented, it can be repealed. Register to vote and VOTE for local, state and federal legislators who care about clean energy and protecting our rights to breathe clean air, drink clean water and enjoy a safe, healthy environment for our children and grandchildren. All Ohioans pay taxes to support our state parks; we deserve to see them preserved as pristine and healthy spaces to enjoy nature.

How can I keep on top of this issue in the future?

Access local and state media with reporters who competently cover energy and issues related to the environment:

Eye on Ohio Eye on Ohio – In-depth, underreported and high-impact journalism that promotes the public good

Midwest Energy News (Energy News Network) Midwest Energy News | Energy News Network

Ohio Capital Journal Home – Ohio Capital Journal

WVXU 91.7 WVXU, Cincinnati’s NPR Station | WVXU

Enquirer Cincinnati News, Sports and Things to Do | Cincinnati Enquirer

Journal-News Hamilton In-depth, Investigative News from Journal-News

Statehouse News Bureau Home | The Statehouse News Bureau (statenews.org)

Columbus Dispatch The Columbus Dispatch: Columbus, Ohio, News, Politics & Sports

The Times-Leader News, Sports, Jobs – The Times Leader (timesleaderonline.com)

What environmental organizations can I connect with to learn more or get involved?

Sierra Club Miami Group, Ohio Chapter Sierra Club Miami Group – To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth

Buckeye Environmental Network Buckeye Environmental Network

Ohio Environmental Council Ohio Environmental Council | (theoec.org)

Ohio Citizen Action Campaigns – Ohio Citizen Action

How can I keep bad laws like H.B. 507 from being passed in the future?

Register to vote and VOTE for ethical candidates who pledge to protect our environment and support clean, sustainable energy.

Vote for candidates who do not accept SuperPAC, 501(c)(4) and Big Oil donations.

Join the Butler County Democratic Party and vote for endorsed candidates who care about the average Ohio citizen, not Big Oil.

Run for office.

Access media known to accurately cover Ohio’s environmental laws and educate yourself on these important issues.

I’m only one person. What impact I have on big issues like this?

Greta Thunberg is only one person. Martin Luther King was one person, too.

One person inspires another; soon you make a few friends and a community that encourages and empowers you.

It’s better to spend 10 minutes a day doing one important thing you care about than do nothing except worry.

In other words, it’s better to light one candle than it is to curse the darkness.

Every day is a new day and a new opportunity to do your part to effect positive change.