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Save Ohio Parks promotes meeting and fossil fuels rally

Emergency stay filed to delay bid approval

Photo Provided People at the Nov. 15 Oil and Gas Land Management Commission meeting protest the commission’s decision to accept bids to frack under Ohio’s state parks and public lands. The next OGLMC meeting is set for Monday in Columbus.

COLUMBUS — Ohio’s Oil and Gas Land Management Commission will meet at 10:30 a.m. Monday, but a Franklin County judge may stay its decisions to award oil and gas bids to allow hydraulic fracturing beneath Salt Fork State Park and the Valley Run and Zepernick wildlife areas.

EarthJustice and Ohio Environmental Council announced this week that they filed an emergency stay to suspend and delay OGLMC orders to frack as part of natural gas and poil exploration, pending a decision on the appeal by Save Ohio Parks, Buckeye Environmental Network and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers of OGLMC’s Nov. 15 decision to approve nominations of these areas for fracking.

A decision by Court of Common Pleas Judge Jaiza Page on the emergency stay was requested by Friday.

The Monday OGLMC meeting venue has been changed from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources headquarters to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Charles D. Shipley Building Atrium, 1970 W. Broad St. in Columbus.

Save Ohio Parks said there may be a heavy police presence at this meeting and warned audience members of possible arrest if they cause disruptions. The Nov. 15 OGLMC meeting was called “raucous” by media after attendees shouted against fracking under Ohio’s state parks and public lands and protested “the secretive nature of OGLMC’s process that muzzled the public’s right to speak at the OGLMC meeting and engage in the democratic process,” a news release from Save Ohiob Parks states.

Save Ohio Parks is the statewide, all-volunteer group concerned about harm to the environment, people’s health, methane air emissions and freshwater depletion and pollution from fracking Ohio’s public lands.

“Unless the judge grants the emergency stay, the commission is likely to award oil and gas bids to frack our state parks and public lands at this meeting,” Loraine McCosker, steering committee member for Save Ohio Parks, said. “Anyone who cares about the damage fracking and fossil fuels cause to our health, climate, Ohio forests and natural places, our clean air and fresh water, or our democratic process should attend this meeting.”

Save Ohio Parks volunteers believe the state has “steamrolled” over Ohioans’ concerns about fracking and ignored the science regarding the dangers of oil and gas production and its role in climate change. The OGLMC has regularly and consistently prevented the public from speaking at open meetings over the past year, the organization states.

Save Ohio Parks reminds the public that:

– Natural gas fracking causes methane air emissions that are 80 percent more potent than greenhouse gases from carbon dioxide and accelerate climate change. Proximity to fracking well pads increases cancers, asthmas, fertility issues and other chronic illnesses.

– Fracking uses up to 16 million gallons (equivalent to 24 Olympic swimming pools) of fresh water from lakes, rivers and streams per fracked well, per fracking.

The Monday OGLMC meeting was announced despite three pending legal actions in Ohio regarding fracking. These include a lawsuit challenging the legality of House Bill 507, which mandated fracking Ohio’s public lands; a pending state investigation by Attorney General Dave Yost regarding 1,100 allegedly fraudulent, pro-fracking emails submitted to the OGLMC by an oil and gas industry public relations firm; and an appeal of the Nov. 15 OGLMC decision to frack Salt Fork State Park and Zepernick and Valley Run wildlife areas.

“We want people to attend the OGLMC meeting, but also want to communicate the restrictiveness and potential volatility of this meeting,” McCosker said. “OGLMC already told us that signs will not be allowed in the meeting area. Honestly, is that even legal in Ohio?”

Also on Monday, Save Ohio Parks has teamed with Third Act Ohio to organize a second event at 12:30 p.m. to protest insurance companies and their support of fossil fuels.

Third Act Ohio engages seniors over 60 years old working to limit and fight climate change.

The groups will rally on the public High Street sidewalk outside of Nationwide Insurance headquarters, One Nationwide Plaza, 1 W Nationwide Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215.

For more information about fracking under state parks and public lands, visit saveohioparks.org. For information on Third Act, thirdact.org.

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