Anti-drilling activists this morning urged the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District to halt all water sales to natural gas drillers and to stop leasing public land for drilling.
The request came from a national environmental group, Food & Water Watch, and a local grass-roots group, the Freshwater Accountability Project, at a protest and press conference at the Tuscarawas County Courthouse in New Philadelphia.
"This is an issue of public trust," said Alison Auciello of Food & Water Watch.
Later, about 25 activists attended the meeting of the district's governing board. About 15 of them addressed the board.
The district’s governing board took no action on the requests.
The district voted in June to halt water sales for drilling, pending completion of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey. That study is still incomplete.
One water sale had been approved earlier.
On Sept. 21, the board agreed to sell water from Clendening Lake in Harrison County and Piedmont lake, mostly in Belmont County, to drillers during the fall-winter drawdown when lakes are lowered annually. That angered the anti-drilling group.
Here is the activists' statement:
Today, Food & Water Watch and members of the citizen’s advocacy coalition Freshwater Accountability Project convened a protest and a press conference at the Tuscarawas County Courthouse, demanding that the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) protect the health, safety and welfare of watershed district residents by halting all water sales and the leasing of public land for hydraulic fracturing.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.