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Wednesday, June 25,2014

ODNR settles lawsuit with anti-frackers

Gas commission ruling challenge continues

By David DeWitt

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.


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Ohio Revised Code section 149.43 in part:


"The amount of statutory damages shall be fixed at one hundred dollars for each business day during which the public office or person responsible for the requested public records failed to comply with an obligation in accordance with division (B) of this section, beginning with the day on which the requester files a mandamus action to recover statutory damages, up to a maximum of one thousand dollars. The award of statutory damages shall not be construed as a penalty, but as compensation for injury arising from lost use of the requested information. The existence of this injury shall be conclusively presumed. The award of statutory damages shall be in addition to all other remedies authorized by this section."

According to some wording at the top of the law as it appears in the Ohio Revised Code, this language is only effective til March of 2015.  Don't know what happens after that. The Ohio Sunshine Law and Open Records acts have been under constant threat and attack from tax funded agencies and administrations for as long as I can remember.  Way to many of them want to operate behind closed doors, in secret, without accountability. 

Good job, anti-fracking crowd. Keep up the good work.



I agree. Way to go you Anti-Frackers.  Way to clog up the court system with frivolous lawsuits over issues you choose to be ignorant of the facts on.  I would suggest looking at the studies done by both the Federal and Pennsylvania EPA, which showed absolutely no issues with fracking polluting water wells or anything else.  But you wouldn’t believe it anyway. You choose to stay in your own little world and continue to stay ignorant.  




Good job anti-fracking crowd. Keep up the ignorance  ! 







bpoe2640, speaking of ignorance;

"More than six per cent of wells in a major shale exploration region in Pennsylvania have reported some kind of leak, analysis by independent academic group Researching Fracking in Europe (ReFINE) found."from ,

and, "EPA: Natural Gas Fracking Linked to Water Contamination" from here,