A settlement has been reached between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and a local anti-fracking group in a lawsuit over records regarding two injection wells in eastern Athens County.
Meanwhile, the anti-fracking group is moving forward with a motion for the state oil and gas commission to reconsider a related appeal that was dismissed earlier this month.
On Friday, an agreement was filed wherein the ODNR will pay $1,000 to the Athens County Fracking Action Network regarding the records lawsuit, though it stipulates that the payment is not an admission of liability in the case.
Moreover, ACFAN attorney Rick Sahli said in an interview Monday that he has received documents from the ODNR that he said shines a light on the agency's successful argument to the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission to dismiss an ACFAN appeal on approval of one of the Torch-area injection wells in question.
Earlier this month, the commission voted to dismiss the appeal on the grounds that a permit issued for the well was for drilling of the well only and not the actual injection permit.
After filing a public records request, Sahli said that he received a copy of the permit issued one day after the Oil and Gas Commission filed its ruling in favor of dismissal.
"Since I have these new documents that shed so much light on the reality of it being inappropriate to dismiss the appeal, I filed something called a motion for reconsideration," he said. The commission will have 30 days to overturn their previous decision and reconsider, he explained, and if it fails to do so, ACFAN will officially appeal the decision.
Regarding the lawsuit, which was filed over a separate records request situation in March, the ODNR was accused of violating state public records law with ACFAN asking the 10th District Court of Appeals in Franklin County to order the agency to comply.
The settlement agreement last week states that ODNR has provided documents on multiple occasions since the lawsuit was filed, and the ODNR has claimed it has fully complied as per Ohio Revised Code.