The legislation will create the following:
A five-member Leasing Commission that will be industry friendly, as it will consist of two oil and gas industry representatives, one member of the public with expertise in finance and real estate (i.e., a land man -- a gas exploration and production professional), the chief of the state Division of Geological Survey, and only one environmental representative. Only three votes are required to lease a parcel, so environmental representation is still meaningless.
Sub. HB 133 requires state agencies to try to remove any federal grant and private deed restrictions from state parks; these restrictions would protect the parks even if the original HB 133 had passed.
There is no allowance for public participation or objection.
Sub. HB 133 still declares that oil and gas drilling in parks is the policy of the state. Therefore, a government agency that does oppose a lease will be acting contrary to state policy.
It allows the industry (oil and gas leasing commission) to be the arbiter of whether oil/gas development is compatible with a state park and what the environmental impact may be.
The bill opens the door for drilling in Lake Erie, which has been prohibited. Also requires ODNR to actively lobby Congress to lift the federal ban on drilling in Lake Erie.
The bill still requires use of a standard lease, totally inadequate to protect land and water from environmental impacts of deep well drilling and horizontal fracturing. (The Ohio Farm Bureau is encouraging all landowners to seek private attorneys BEFORE signing any leases and to draw up their own leases for protections from horizontal hydraulic fracturing.)
This violates the public trust that has been established to create public land protections for future generations. A poll by the Columbus Dispatch indicated that more than 70 percent of Ohioans oppose drilling on public lands.
Please speak for the forests, public spaces and waters that have no voice and the future citizens of Ohio that will treasure our protected and cared for public lands.