Columbus – Environment Ohio praised Governor Kasich’s decision to issue an executive order barring oil and gas drilling in Lake Erie. The group won a similar order from Governor Taft nearly a decade ago, but the issue takes on new resonance as the threat of fracking looms over the rest of the state.
“Today, Governor Kasich stepped forward to protect Lake Erie from the perils of gas drilling,” observed Julian Boggs, advocate for Environment Ohio. “Now we need a moratorium on fracking to protect the rest of Ohio.”
In 2002, the group’s research uncovered a series of spills and leaks – nearly one per month over a four year period - from gas drilling operations on the Canadian side of Lake Erie. Armed with this data, Environment Ohio launched a campaign to get Governor Taft to bar Erie drilling. Today’s order from Governor Kasich restores the protection set by his predecessor.
But the record of toxic pollution from previous Erie drilling bears new relevance today, as the oil and gas industry seeks to make Ohio a new center of fracking operations. In recent weeks, tests confirmed samples of fracking wastewater in Ohio contaminated with numerous toxic substances. See Fracking waste has contaminated drinking water sources from Pennsylvania to New Mexico. And the machinery and infrastructure for fracking turns forest acres into industrial zones.
“Governor Kasich is exactly right in barring the oil and gas industry from Lake Erie,” continued Boggs. “So how could state officials let fracking into our parks and forests? We need to turn that around.”
This spring, the legislature approved a sweeping package that paved the way for more destructive drilling – even barring doctors from revealing toxic fracking chemicals poisoning their patients.
“If state officials continue to place the interests of the oil and gas industry over Ohio’s water and land, we’ll have no choice but to look to federal agencies for protection,” said Boggs. Environment Ohio has recently urged the national forest service to bar fracking in Wayne National Forest. “That’s the least they can do as Ohio goes under the drill.”