Emily Bacha, Vice President of Public Affairs, March 17, 2020
GOOD NEWS ALERT: With your support, the Ohio Environmental Council just achieved one of the most significant conservation victories in Ohio history!
The OEC just won its three-year legal battle to protect the Wayne National Forest, Ohio’s only national forest located in Southeast Ohio, by stopping fracking in its tracks.
Last Friday, a federal judge ruled that federal agencies failed to consider threats to public health, endangered species, and watersheds before trying to lease out forest areas for oil and gas development. For the time being, this ruling stops fracking in the Wayne. And since it requires the agencies to go back to the drawing board, it may stop fracking in the Wayne for many years to come!
This victory for Ohio’s environment sets a key precedent emphasizing the fact that federal agencies must consider the impacts of fracking.
Keeping fracking out of the Wayne is crucial. Oil and gas development would disrupt Ohio’s only national forest with roads, well pads, and gas lines, which would destroy endangered Indiana bat habitat, scar the forest, and threaten to pollute watersheds that support millions of people.
Plus, this is a huge win — literally. For context, the 40,000 acres covered by this ruling is larger than Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio’s only national park) and measures approximately the size of 30,303 football fields! That’s how much public forest we just saved from oil and gas development!
The OEC brought this lawsuit in May 2017 along with conservation groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club, and Heartwood. We couldn’t have achieved this victory without our legal team, our partners, and without the help of frontline communities in Southeast Ohio, as well as all of you. Thank you for your support!
The threats to our natural spaces are many, and there is much work to do. So, as we celebrate, let’s keep an eye toward the future of the Wayne. Chief among the immediate threats: the federal government is targeting the Wayne for a massive logging increase. We can’t let this happen!
Preserving the Wayne not only promises us the grandeur and beauty of undisturbed wilderness, it also benefits our climate. Allowing our forests to grow old is the most effective, immediate, and low-cost nature-based approach to fighting climate change. We need your help to amplify the call for large-scale preservation in Ohio’s only national forest.
The deadline for public comment is March 23rd — and you can take action today from your own home. This comment opportunity and the handful to follow will determine much of the Wayne’s fate for the next 15 to 25 years.
This is our once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a difference. Join the movement!