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Ohio Utica Shale

Strong support in southern Ohio for Wayne NF drilling

By Bob Downing Published: January 22, 2016

From a Thusday press release:

Bipartisan Elected Leaders, Community Groups, Business, and Labor Join Landowners in Supporting WNF Drilling


SARAHSVILLE, OH – A wave of federal, state, and local bipartisan leaders, community organizations, businesses and labor unions joined hundreds of local landowners blocked from developing their mineral rights in submitting public comment in favor drilling in the Wayne National Forest (WNF) to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) this week.


Specifically, Landowners for Energy Access and Safe Exploration (LEASE) relayed the views of landowners throughout southeastern Ohio asking the BLM for the opportunity to develop their minerals.


“After receiving comments from this broad coalition, representing hundreds of local landowners, taxpayers, job-creators, economic development groups, laborers, and elected officials, land management and Wayne officials have ample support to make a ‘finding of no significant impact’ and move forward with the leasing process,” said Becky Clutter, founder of the Landowners for Energy Access and Safe Exploration movement. “Together, we have made it abundantly clear that there is strong support among the people who live and work in southeastern Ohio to develop our federal minerals in the Wayne National Forest. We stand united in support of seeing our property rights restored by gaining access to the Wayne.”


Since the public hearings in mid-November, where hundreds of landowners and community members called on the BLM to approve shale development in the Wayne, local community organizations representing labor, chambers of commerce, elected officials, and school districts have joined LEASE in supporting shale development in the Wayne.


“For many landowners, the value of privately held minerals isn’t worth the paper it’s written on – unless the BLM and USFS agree to approve shale development in the Wayne,” the LEASE-submitted letter reads. “Moving the more t han 31,000 acres under consideration to final auction sale will restore the opportunity for private mineral owners to develop their land and provide an economic boost to our region’s struggling economy.”


Here are comments from some of the nearly 40 bipartisan federal, state, and local supportive voices who have joined our cause (full comments attached):


Senator Rob Portman (R-OH): “The exploration of Eastern Ohio’s Utica and Marcellus Shale has placed Southeast Ohio at the forestfront of domestic energy production. Harnessing the resources in the Wayne Natioal Forest will help increase our nation’s energy security, create jobs, and provide econoimc development ot much-needed areas.”


Congressman Bill Johnson (R-OH-6):“The federal government is hindering shale development throughout significant parts of Southeastern Ohio. Some residents, particularly in Monroe and Washington Counties, have elected to lease their private mineral rights for the purpose of oil and natural gas development. But many are finding themselves in a situation where their private leases are at risk of not being developed because their private mineral leases are adjacent to, or under the surface of, the Wayne National Forest. I urge the BLM to take action on the pending leases in the Wayne National Forest.”


Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel: "Bureaucrats in Washington DC and in the state have blocked responsible oil and gas exploration at Wayne National Forest for too long. This drilling will help create jobs, bring down utility bills, and contribute to the national security of our country."


Sen. Andy Thompson (R, OH-95): “The main issue here isn’t merely mineral extraction; it’s property rights. Unlike federal lands in the Western U.S., the Wayne National Forest is not one large contiguous piece of property. Wayne National Forest property is often next to or surrounding property owned by individual Ohioans. Leasing of Wayne National Forest property simply gives private citizens the opportunity, if not the guarantee, to develop the minerals they own. … Again, on behalf of the input my office has received from landowners and concerned citizens across my district, I respectfully ask that your office move expeditiously with the applicable leasing so that my constituents may proceed.”


Sen. Troy Balderson (R, OH-20): “I am writing to express support for the development of private mineral leases in and adjacent to Wayne National Forest. Leasing and development of this land is a right of the private property owners that has been established by previous federal agency decisions. … I urge that your office expedite a position decision on the Environmental Assessment, and that private mineral leases be allowed within Wayne National Forest.”  


Washington County Commissioner Ron Feathers (R): "In order to offer our local future generations a greater success of economic development here in Washington County, I believe it is not only necessary but crucial that all of the privately held mineral rights here in Washington County have the chance to be developed and stewarded properly."


Monroe County Commissioners Tim Price (D) Carl Davis (D) Mick Schumacher (R): We are writing on behalf of our constituent and what has been a public outcry from landowners in Monroe County regarding delays with development of private mineral leases located under and adjacent to the Wayne National Forest. The real issue is property rights. In addition, since 2008, mineral development has generated more than $460,000 for local government. In 2015, Monroe County received $33,286.00 in Payment in Liu of Taxes (PILT), of which there was no monies received from federal minerals. We also find this matter concerning from a perspective of “The Secure Rural School and Community Self Determination Act of 2000” (SRS), which is another source of funding from the Wayne National Forest that provide payments to fund important local services “


Switzerland School District (Monroe Co.) Treasurer Lance Erlwein: "Approximately 24,000 acres of Wayne National Forest is located within our district. Because this land is tax exempt, the school district receives around 75 cents per acre in tax revenue which equates to around $18,000 per year. This places us at a significant competitive disadvantage because this land cannot generate additional mineral taxation that our students so desperately need." (Marietta Times, 11/18/15)


International Union of Operating Engineers Local 18: “The oil and natural gas industry has played an important role in the economic well-being of Ohio, and the state’s production is a strong contributor toward American energy security. … We are asking that the Bureau of Land Management approve leasing and expedite the process, as the U.S. Forest Service has already conducted a thorough NEPA review in 2012.”


Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth: “The abundant supply of hydrocarbons has allowed a rapid-transition to more electricity from cleaner burning natural gas as coal-fired power plants are shut down. Long-term APEG sees the potential for a renaissance in the upper and middle Ohio River Valley tied to natural gas and natural gas liquids production, processing, and value-added manufacturing. Based upon an objective consideration of the facts above, APEG supports the proposed public bidding for oil and gas leases in the viable eastern portions of the Wayne National Forest.


Consumer Energy Alliance: “Encouraging the development of American energy resources through the leasing of mineral rights is a key component of a balanced and sensible energy policy which will protect Ohio consumers and promote job growth in the state. As such, CEA and our more than 35,000 individual members in the state of Ohio wish to convey our strong support for the proposed leasing of mineral rights in the Wayne National Forest. … For the benefit of citizens and businesses throughout the state of Ohio and across the country, CEA respectfully urges the Bureau of Land Management to open public bidding for oil and gas leases in the Wayne National Forest.”


Southeastern Ohio Port Authority: “The Wayne National Forest also pays our county its share of receipts from leases held by the Corps of Engineers, forest receipts, and mineral royalties, using the same formula as those for the SRS.   Delay and/or determination that would impede our county’s ability to realize additional funding from these sources simply would not be in the best interest of our county.”


Noble County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau: “Noble County has a small share of acreage in the Wayne National Forest, a total of 694. But within that portion, as well as the entire 240,977 acres encompassing 12 counties in Southern Ohio, we feel it is important to support the land owners and their right to lease and develop their minerals. Land owners in and around Noble County have been experiencing the good fortune of being able to lease and develop their minerals, that right should extend to every land owner including the affected by having a close proximity to WNF.”


Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce: “We have experienced positive economic growth in the last 4 years from shale development and would like to see every opportunity explored to continue that growth throughout all of southeast Ohio. The federal government should not stand in the way of our region realizing the opportunities created from oil and natural gas development. … [We] fully support opening the Wayne National Forest to shale development and ask the BLM to quickly approve the acreage under consideration for oil and gas development.”





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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.