Press Release

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OEC and Earthjustice File Motion for Suspension of Agency Orders Regarding the February 26, 2024 Oil and Gas Land Management Commission Hearing

For Immediate Release:
Feb 20, 2024

Marisa Twigg, or 614-487-5837

COLUMBUS, OH — The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) and Earthjustice, on behalf of the OEC and Save Ohio Parks as well as Buckeye Environmental Network and Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, filed a Motion for Suspension of Agency Orders to halt pending action scheduled for the Oil and Gas Land Management Commission’s (OGLMC) meeting on February 26, 2024. 

The meeting scheduled for February 26, 2024 accelerates the bidding process for oil and gas development of Salt Fork State Park and other state lands when there was no statutory obligation to do so. The Commission had already started the bidding process nearly three months sooner than required by statute. Once the Commission selects the “highest and best” bids, the statute requires the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to lease the Nominated Lands to those bidders. The Commission’s rush to select the highest and best bid is also a rush for the state to sign the leases for these public lands — committing Ohio state parks and lands to high-volume fracking for the first time in the state’s history.

The parties’ Motion can be read in its entirety here.

The following quote can be attributed, in whole or in part, to Chris Tavenor, General Counsel for the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC):

“To protect Ohio’s state parks, the Commission must not move forward with the actions contemplated for its February 26, 2024 meeting. A suspension will pause the bureaucratic steamroller that the Commission put in place when it issued its orders approving the Nominations. It will preserve the status quo, allowing this Court to settle important points of law before a third party can plow ahead with leasing and fracking the beloved public lands in question. The state absolutely should not be leasing any of its state lands for oil and gas development, but if it decides to lease the land, the state needs to follow its own rules in making those decisions. Any decision to sacrifice Ohio’s state parks for fossil fuel extraction — especially on the 75th anniversary of their creation — is a decision that increases Ohio’s greenhouse gas emissions when Ohio’s leaders should be doing everything in their power to reduce pollution and combat climate change.”

The following quote can be attributed, in whole or in part, to Cathy Cowan Becker, steering committee member of Save Ohio Parks:

“Save Ohio Parks previously joined a legal action appealing the Oil and Gas Land Management Commission’s decision to approve fracking of Salt Fork State Park, Valley Run Wildlife Area and Zepernick Wildlife Area. Yet instead of waiting for a ruling on our appeal, the Commission is rushing forward with selling off our parks and wildlife areas to the highest bidder. Yet again, Ohio citizens who own and use our public lands are being shut out of the process. This has to stop right now.”

The following quote can be attributed, in whole or in part, to Roxanne Groff, steering committee member for Save Ohio Parks:

“The Court must grant this stay to preserve our claims requiring the Commission to follow the expressed instructions of the general assembly. The Commission’s flagrant disregard of the mandated process, including ignoring the thousands of comments from concerned people, will cause irreparable harm to our parks and wildlife areas and the people who use them. It is a heavy burden on the people to have as our only remedy going to the courts to right the wrongs of decision makers.”


The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) is the state’s most comprehensive and effective environmental advocate for a healthier, more sustainable Ohio. The OEC develops and ensures the implementation of forward-thinking, science-based, pragmatic solutions to secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home.