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Ohio Utica Shale

Grass-roots groups want Ohio to return local control

By Bob Downing Published: August 31, 2012

A coalition of 16 Ohio grass-roots groups is seeking local communities to pass resolutions to convince the state of Ohio to return control over natural gas-oil drilling back to local communities.

The state took control from local communities in 2004 with passage of House Bill 278.

Until then, local control had been involved.

Today that control rests with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The local groups want to convince Gov. John Kasich and legislative leaders to switch back to provide local communities with more control.

Petitions may also be circulated, said spokeswoman Sandra Bilek of the Concerned Citizens of Medina County.

Here is the statement issued by the groups in kicking off their campaign::

Communities across Ohio are launching an effort to work with their local officials to pass resolutions that affirms citizens’ rights to clean water and air, acknowledges the dangers of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of shale gas and demands return of local community control. The resolution will be non-binding but the citizens’ resolve to let local communities decide is steadfast.

Increased awareness that the use of fracking technology is destructive to public health, the environment, and economic stability and jobs, has also led to the realization that this industry is destructive to representative government.

"Fracking the shale to extract oil and gas is a highly industrialized process that turns residential and farming communities into industrial zones. Our communities should have the right to decide what happens in their community and whether or not that is what they want," said Concerned Citizens Ohio member Gwen Fischer from Hiram.

As a result of legislation passed in Ohio in 2004, residents and local municipalities lost their ability to protect their communities from hydro-fracked gas wells, toxic injection wells and other oil and gas operations when sole authority was given to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“The key to the solution lies in the people demanding that their local and state elected officials honor their oath of office to protect their health, safety and welfare. Local control needs to be returned and the elected leaders in Columbus need to start working for the people and return to Constitutional concepts that this Country and State were founded on, not taking corporate dollars for corporate driven legislative decisions,” says Sandra Bilek, co-founder of Concerned Citizens of Medina County.

“Citizens are waking up. Local elected officials are waking up. People are tired of being pushed around, led around, and given the run-around by corporations. Corporations have not been given permission to tell us what to do or how we should run our cities, villages, and townships. The lack of local control is an assault on 'we the people’s' right to protect our own community politically, economically and environmentally,” stated Plain Township Board of Trustee’s Lou Giavasis.

In an effort to ensure that people's health, safety, and property rights are protected, municipalities arepassing resolutions that highlight the importance of local control and community protection.

Over the next several months, grassroots community groups will be working to get these local resolutions passed. Concerned citizens are taking action in every corner of the state and are striving to highlight the injustice of gas development and the need for self-determination.


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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

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.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

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.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.