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OEC Statement on Voluntary Shale Gas Standards

Ohio Environmental Council, March 22, 2013

Earlier this week, the Center for Sustainable Shale Development announced the establishment of a set of voluntary standards between environmental groups, philanthropic foundations, and energy companies “to ensure safe and environmentally responsible development of the Appalachian Basin’s abundant shale gas resources.” (Read their statement.)

“We have not yet had the opportunity to review the standards, but we are troubled as to whether they truly address the concerns voiced by Ohio’s citizens who are distressed about the wide range of risks to Ohio’s air, land, and water from fracking,” said Keith Dimoff, OEC Executive Director.  

“Neither the Ohio Environmental Council nor other environmental-conservation groups in Ohio participated in, nor had any prior knowledge of, the development of these voluntary standards.

“The OEC continues to call for enforceable laws of the highest standard and for a ‘time-out’ moratorium on horizontal drilling in Ohio to allow for more scientific evaluation of its risks.

“The OEC also believes it is crucial that a system be established that captures the true external costs of oil, gas, and coal to Ohio communities and the environment. Capturing these external costs will once and for all level the playing field for renewable energy. This can be accomplished through local impact fees, higher severance taxes, and economic disincentives for carbon pollution,” concluded Dimoff.

There are a wide range of concerns voiced by Ohio citizens grappling with shale gas development and related waste disposal in their communities, including the use and disclosure of toxic chemicals, contamination of rivers and groundwater, the use of large volumes of water for drilling, air pollution, the disposal of toxic waste fluid and radioactive-laced drill cuttings, pipeline construction, well pad noise and light, compressor station noise, and more.

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The mission of the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) is to secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home. The OEC is Ohio’s leading advocate for fresh air, clean water, and sustainable land use. The OEC has a 40-year history of innovation, pragmatism, and success. Using legislative initiatives, legal action, scientific principles, and statewide partnerships, the OEC secures a healthier environment for Ohio’s families and communities.