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Ohio is full of natural wonders, and there are few places that highlight these treasures as dramatically as our state parks.  Parks are where Ohio families go to hike, boat, and vacation. However, our parks could be in peril if the Ohio General Assembly passes House Bill 133 or Senate Bill 108.

House Bill 133, Senate Bill 108, and provisions in the Governor s proposed budget would permit drilling for oil and gas on Ohio s public lands. Under the proposed legislation, decisions on leasing state lands for oil and gas drilling would be made by a newly formed Oil and Gas Leasing Board.  Membership of this board will include two representatives of the oil and gas industry to be appointed by the Governor.

There is no longer a question that drilling poses potential dangers to our health and safety. There are notable shortcomings with the much discussed hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technology used to stimulate natural gas extraction could put our state water tables at risk.

Other impacts from proposed drilling include: massive equipment and unintentional gas leaks, large areas of cleared land and many miles of roadways. Drilling operations also require round the clock lighting, and produce noise pollution beginning with the initial month of drilling the well to the continuous noise generated by the operation of compressor stations.

Certainly Ohio s budget crisis calls for creative solutions to bring dollars to the state.  However, with no consistent estimates of lease revenue that would result from drilling, and with less than 1% of Ohio s land area dedicated to state parks, it is difficult to endorse putting them at risk in the long-term for what could prove to be a short-term revenue bump.

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