Tagged In: , , ,

Take Action: Fracking threatens Wayne National Forest once again

The fight for Ohio’s recovering public lands continues and we need your voice. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is once again proposing to lease out approximately 40,000 acres of the Wayne National Forest’s Marietta Unit to the oil and gas industry for drilling and fracking. The proposed project will not only scar this public forest, but also seriously jeopardize  Ohio’s ability to fight climate change.

In 2020, the OEC and our partners Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and Heartwood won a federal lawsuit that stopped this BLM leasing project from moving forward. However, the agency issued a Supplemental Environmental Assessment for public review and comment as it attempts to lease these lands again. 

You can take action by submitting a public comment ahead of the May 17 deadline.

IMPORTANT NOTE: At this time, the agency is only accepting directly submitted comments through their website. Click the button below to access the BLM National NEPA Register. Wait for the green “Participate Now” button to appear in the left-hand column. Next, click the green “Participate Now” button on the main page and submit your comment. Please feel free to copy and paste the template below —with your personal anecdotes added — when submitting your comment.

Submit Your Comment

Subject line: Supplemental Environmental Assessment for Oil and Gas Leasing of the Wayne National Forest

I write to urge the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to fully consider the potential environmental impacts that could result from the proposed leasing of up to 40,000 acres of the Wayne National Forest. The harmful effects of leasing this much public land in Ohio for oil and gas development will be significant. The BLM should therefore decline to offer portions of the Wayne National Forest for oil and gas leasing. At the very least, the significant impacts of this project mean that the agency should prepare a full NEPA environmental review. 

In Ohio, 40,000 acres is a significant amount of public land. Ohio ranks near the bottom of the fifty states in public land acres available per person. Protecting undeveloped public surface for public access and quality outdoor enjoyment is especially important in this context. Oil and gas leasing will result in hazardous air pollution and ecological fragmentation that will reduce my access to healthy and enjoyable outdoor experiences on public land. 

Additionally, Ohio’s public lands are still recovering from generations of heavy logging and mining. Leasing 40,000 acres of our only National Forest would move us in the wrong direction – directly compromising that recovery and the health and wellbeing of our communities in favor of temporary financial gain. By the BLM’s own Social Cost of Carbon analysis, the negative impacts of this project could cost society as much as $842 million.  

According to the U.S. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released from this project would cancel out all of the Wayne National Forest’s carbon sequestration, a crucial tool in the fight against climate change, for the next 30 years.

Leasing up to 40,000 acres of national forest in Ohio for oil and gas development poses a significant threat to the environmental well-being of our state. I respectfully request that you decline to lease the Wayne National Forest’s Marietta Unit for oil and gas development. At the very least, the significance of this project’s impacts demands full environmental review. 

Submit Your Comment

Because of the huge impact this decision will have for Ohio’s only National Forest and for all our public lands, comments from individual Ohioans that illustrate how this impacts YOU are especially important.

Map of the Wayne National Forest Marietta Unit
Map of the Wayne National Forest Marietta Unit with proposed leasing requests

For more details on the BLM’s plan to lease the Wayne National Forest’s Marietta Unit for fracking, visit their project webpage.