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We must not allow fracking in parks

DEAR EDITOR:

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Oil and Gas Land Management Commission signed away Ohio’s state parks Nov. 15, approving fracking leases on Salt Fork State Park, Zepernick Wildlife Area and Valley Run Wildlife Area.

Ohio citizens submitted over 5,000 comments alerting OGLMC to peer-reviewed health and environmental studies. These were ignored. The commission also disregarded nine criteria contained in the statue. They demonstrated willingness to jeopardize $12.5 billion that wildlife-based recreation contributed to Ohio’s economy in 2022.

After the announcement, Columbiana County Commissioner Mike Halleck told reporters about the lease of 66 acres of Zepernick Wildlife Area, “We welcome it; it’s being done safely.”

But County Commissioner Halleck, as well as the OGLMC members Ryan Richardson, Stephen Buehrer, Matthew Warnock, Michael Wise and Jim McGregor, must not have considered the health and safety studies of fracking.

A July accident at a Columbiana well pad caused methane gas to leak for over 28 hours, necessitating evacuation of 450 people in a mile radius. A 2018 Belmont County well explosion caused 20-day gas leaks. It is “among the worst methane leaks in human history.”

Accident reports obtained from ODNR illustrate the industry is unsafe. Since 2018, ODNR data documented over 800 accidents requiring inspectors, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and hazmat intervention and remediation.

Recently released report “Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking and Associated Gas and Oil Infrastructure” states, “Our examination uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health directly or without imperiling climate stability upon which human health depends.”

Fracking requires millions of gallons of water per well, and produces millions of gallons of toxic wastewater. Peer-reviewed studies show watersheds surrounding frack well pads test positive for radioactive substances.

Over 100 studies documented nearly 200 chemical compounds in the air around fracking sites; 61 chemicals are classified as hazardous air pollutants, and some are known carcinogens.

“Evidence shows that compressor stations along natural gas pipelines are sources of air pollutant exposures that may contribute to adverse human health outcomes.”

Halleck said, “When it’s done, you’ll never know it was there.”

I disagree. Fracking wells and infrastructure require four to 30 acres of land. We are losing forest acreage to well pads, infrastructure, roads and pipelines. Well pads are a major source of noise pollution and light pollution. Fracking also has been shown to induce seismic activity.

Halleck added, “get used to it, it’s gonna happen.”

Do we want a toxic industry next door to wildlife refuges?

Let ODNR know Ohio parks belong to us.

RANDI POKLADNIK

Steering Committee,

Save Ohio Parks

Uhrichsville

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