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Ohio Utica Shale

OEC is pleased by Kasich's Lake Erie order

By Bob Downing Published: July 14, 2012

The Ohio Environmental Council is pleased with Gov. John Kasich's move earlier this week to ban natural gas drilling under Lake Erie.

Kasich signed an executive order making such drilling illegal on the Ohio side.

There is already drilling under the lake on the Ontario side.

Here is the statement by OEC spokesman Jack Shaner:

Columbus, OH – The Ohio Environmental Council is commending Ohio Governor John Kasich for issuing an executive order banning oil and gas drilling in Lake Erie. The order prohibits the Ohio Department of Natural Resources from issuing any permit, license or lease allowing for the withdrawal or production of oil and gas from or under the bed of Lake Erie.

Current federal law (42 U.S.C. §15941) prohibits the issuance of permits or leases for new oil and gas slant, directional, or offshore drilling in or under the Great Lakes.

The Ohio order is significant, though, the OEC contends, because:

  • There is no guarantee that the federal law will continue to remain in place, especially given the current political climate on Capitol Hill.
  • The oil and gas industry has a desire to drill anywhere, anytime, including under Ohio’s Great Lake. The industry has frequently advocated to open Lake Erie to drilling and actively explored the possibility in conversations with state natural resources officials a decade ago, prompting then-Governor Bob Taft to issue a similar Executive Order prohibiting drilling in Lake Erie.
  • It is only a matter of time before the oil and gas industry makes another push to drill in or under Lake Erie.

“We thank the Governor for his leadership on this issue. With the stroke of a pen, Governor Kasich got the job done when Republican lawmakers couldn’t find the political courage to put our Great lake out of reach,” said Jack Shaner, OEC Deputy Director.

Legislation (House Bill 133) passed in 2011 to open Ohio’s state parks and other state-owned lands to drilling initially included a ban on drilling in Lake Erie. The bill’s sponsors quietly stripped that provision from the final legislation and Republican lawmakers voted against amendments offered by Democrat lawmakers to restore the ban.

Republican lawmakers discarded another opportunity this spring to enact a ban on Lake Erie drilling. The Ohio House gave a single hearing to a bill (House Bill 304) sponsored by State Representative Nickie Antonio (D-Cleveland) to bar drilling in Lake Erie. The bill never was brought to a vote.

“Governor Kasich has disposed of an important issue that Republican lawmakers couldn’t bring itself to propose. Today’s order will help keep Lake Erie a frack-free zone, at least through the duration of the Kasich administration,” said Shaner.

“Ohioans want to enjoy their Great Lake and North Coast in all of its natural beauty. This is no place to risk an Exxon Valdez tanker spill or Gulf Coast-type blowout disaster.”

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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.

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Ohio Farm Bureau.

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Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

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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.

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Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

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Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.