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The scorched earth Republicans in Ohio have opened up all state lands to oil and gas drilling. The impact will be extensive in the eastern half of the state where the Devonian and Marcellus shale formations will be targeted by drillers. Frack, baby, frack.

The bill would open parks, forests, and other state-controlled lands, including public university and college property, to potential drilling for oil and natural gas.

Even Lake Erie may not be off limits. There is currently a federal ban on drilling in the lake, but Republican state lawmakers want to make sure there is nothing to protect the lake in the event the federal ban can be lifted. Some Congressional Republicans have already advocated lifting the federal ban.

Rep. Kristina Roegner (R., Hudson), however, urged rejection of the amendment, which would have added an extra layer of protection for Lake Erie on top of an existing federal ban on drilling.

“It would be foolish and rather short-sighted for this state to prohibit future generations of the possibility of even considering tapping into what equates to 50 percent of Ohio’s reserve potential,’’ she said. “But for now, the United States will just continue to just let the Canadians enjoy the benefits from Lake Erie.’’

The Kasich administration is not wasting any time with cost-benefit analyses related to drilling. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources already has a section on shale gas exploration in the state parks site.

While the amount of revenue from leasing and royalties is uncertain now, proceeds from natural gas activity would be used to address the large backlog of deferred maintenance needs at state parks.

We encourage you to visit this page again as information will continue to be posted on this site about your state parks. Learn about oil and natural gas in Ohio.

A study conducted in 2004 indicated that state parks generated $1.1 billion for state and local economies. Yet, the parks are being opened without a clue about whether the revenues generated from drilling will offset, much less exceed, any negative effects from degrading state park lands. The idea that revenues from drilling in state parks will pay for deferred maintenance costs associated with draconian budget cuts is absurd. Why maintain a resource you are allowing to be destroyed?

I cannot tell whether Republicans are cynical, delusional, or simply stupid when they tout drilling as a long-term economic strategy with benefits that will extend far beyond the drilling industry. Resource extraction has predictable trajectory of brief boom and long bust. Lax regulations have always allowed oil, gas, and coal companies to close up shop when the wells and mines are no longer profitable, leaving toxic residuals for the taxpayers to clean up or live with.

“What we should be doing is embracing the use of oil and gas that’s right here in our state,’’ said Rep. Matt Huffman (R., Lima). “... If we embrace that, we’re in a position economically to return to the power that we were roughly in the last part of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s. ... If this gas boom takes off like we understand it is, there aren’t going to be enough hotels, houses, and restaurants to handle all the people coming into this state.’’

Matt Huffman is a lawyer by training and you can probably fit what he understands about the economics of shale gas drilling in a thimble with room to spare. His dreams of people flocking to Ohio ignores the fact that they will not stay in any one area for any length of time. Shale gas is a locust economy.

Arthur Berman provides a sobering assessment of the economic realities of shale gas drilling in a recent Oil Drum article. Based on other data from other shale formations, most gas wells typically play out within 5 years. Only 15% are productive for more than 10 years. His dissection of recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings for the 10 largest drilling companies uncovers substantial weakness, such as high debt levels, estimates of reserves not justified by current production levels, and poor returns on investment.

U.S. shale plays have been over-sold and are unlikely to deliver the results that investors now expect. In fact, shareholders have already lost most of their investment. The shale gas resource is huge but the commercial portion is likely to be much smaller than what has been claimed or hoped for. At higher gas prices, more of the resource makes economic sense but that depends for the near term on production discipline that seems to be absent in the U.S. exploration and production companies. It also assumes that attendant service costs do not escalate at similar multiples to gas prices.

The unsound economics in current large scale shale gas drilling operations means that political promises of gas-driven prosperity are not likely to materialize. If the larger operations do not live up to expectations, it is safe to assume that fundamentals for small to mid-sized operations will not be much better.

While the economic benefits will almost certainly be smaller than advertised, the external costs will be much larger. Many of the environmental myths surrounding natural gas have been dispelled. We now know that its carbon footprint rivals coal. The environmental hazards associated with hydraulic fracturing have proven to be much more common than advertised. The millions of gallons of wastewater generated from each and every well overwhelm current water treatment resources, which cannot handle the volume, salinity, and toxic contamination of the drilling fluids. Ohio has no plan in place to deal with wastewater. They are still at the talking stage. States lack the resources and political will to monitor operations, identify abuses, punish offenders, and reclaim abandoned wells. Ohio is no exception.

The saving grace for two-thirds of Ohio's state lands is that drilling cannot take place because of "deed restrictions, federal encumbrances, and the fact that Ohio doesn’t own the mineral rights." However, for the rest, expect the worst.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Modern GOP contempt for their past is amazing. (8+ / 0-)

    Teddy Roosevelt would never be allowed in. They'd hate that damned cowboy.

    (In wikipedia)

    Roosevelt was a prominent conservationist, putting the issue high on the national agenda. ...

    Roosevelt established the United States Forest Service, signed into law the creation of five National Parks, and signed the 1906 Antiquities Act, under which he proclaimed 18 new U.S. National Monuments. He also established the first 51 Bird Reserves, four Game Preserves, and 150 National Forests, including Shoshone National Forest, the nation's first. The area of the United States that he placed under public protection totals approximately 230,000,000 acres (930,000 km2).

    In May 1908, Roosevelt sponsored the Conference of Governors held in the White House, with a focus on natural resources and their most efficient use. Roosevelt delivered the opening address: "Conservation as a National Duty."

    Imagine what TR would have said about "Drill, baby, drill."

  •  Will Ohio survive Kasich? (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, DWG, marina, Ezekial 23 20, bronte17, avsp

    It certainly seems like Kasich is doing everything he can to screw up the state (even worse than it is already). This clown is a walking argument for changing the Ohio constitution to allow recalls.

    •  Can he be impeached? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG, avsp

      He's clearly acting against the public interest.   Who wants    to enjoy scenic Ohio if the landscape is cluttered with drilling rigs, heavy and dangerous truck traffic, and the air and water are polluted? When the countryside is fragmented by roads and pipelines?

      We're fighting the same fight in PA to keep our best lands pristine--well, as pristine as can be after the massive timber and coal exploitations of earlier years.

      It starts with a petition.  If enough people object--and people do not want their favorite hunting grounds or state parks to be ruined-- Kasich will have to retract at least a bit.  Keep on objecting until he crawls back into his hole.

      •  No, but we do have the ability to do referendums (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TofG, marina, Ophelia, bronte17, avsp

        He is a big problem. People hate him as much as the guy in FL.

        He can do alot of damage because he is a bad combo of stoopid and evil. The remainder of the R's are just as bad.

        Hate him, hate them. want SB 5 defeated.  Will work to make him as lame as possible.

        Other goodies include a Jim Crowe voting law, anti-abortions legislation; privatizing everything; giving  more corporate welfare to evil big biz, wrecking public schools.

        Very, very bad for Ohio and Ohioans.

        The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

        by a2nite on Thu May 26, 2011 at 02:10:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oops I'm sorry they own the legislature and I mis (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, Ophelia, avsp

        read thinking you were asking about recall. No we don't have that.

        The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

        by a2nite on Thu May 26, 2011 at 02:11:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Good question nt (0+ / 0-)

      The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

      by a2nite on Thu May 26, 2011 at 02:12:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  pssst...Arthur, not Abe thx nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  It's not just state (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, DWG, TofG, Bob Love, avsp


    The Republican majority again rejected an attempt to restore language that had been struck from the original bill that would also have exempted the U.S. side of Lake Erie from drilling.

    “If this bill passes the Senate without legislative protections for Lake Erie, I challenge the governor to honor the crucial promise he made to the people of the district that I represent that he would not tolerate drilling in Lake Erie and make good on that pledge by vetoing this legislation,’’ said Rep. Dennis Murray (D., Sandusky)....

    “It would be foolish and rather short-sighted for this state to prohibit future generations of the possibility of even considering tapping into what equates to 50 percent of Ohio’s reserve potential,’’ she said. “But for now, the United States will just continue to just let the Canadians enjoy the benefits from Lake Erie.’’

    by ManfromMiddletown on Thu May 26, 2011 at 01:55:10 PM PDT

    •  Argh.... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, DWG, TofG, Bob Love, avsp

      didn't see you had that.  Did you just add it, or am I going blind?

      by ManfromMiddletown on Thu May 26, 2011 at 01:56:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It has always been there (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TofG, avsp

        but it does not hurt to reiterate. Even more disturbing is how the exemption was removed from a previous draft of the bill:

        COLUMBUS—Language that would have specifically exempted Lake Erie was quietly removed this week from a controversial bill to open state lands to drilling for oil and natural gas.

        The move raised the suspicions of environmental groups who already oppose the idea of authorizing drilling in state parks, forests, and wildlife reserves, as well as the lands of public colleges and universities.

        “There’s a federal ban [on Lake Erie drilling], and as long as that’s in place, great,” said Jack Shaner of the Ohio Environmental Council. “But Congress is making noise … Drill-baby-drill mania is sweeping the nation. … Smokey the Bear, the Smoky Mountains, our most treasured parks. Now it looks like Lake Erie could be endangered.”

        As originally introduced by Rep. John Adams (R., Sidney), House Bill 133 included a provision stating the Ohio Department of Natural Resources may issue permits and leases for removal of stone, sand, and other minerals “other than oil or gas” from the lake bed.

        Be radical in your compassion.

        by DWG on Thu May 26, 2011 at 02:33:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The interesting thing is (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TofG, Tinfoil Hat, avsp

          that on land this may not have a huge impact, because the area of state owned lands is relatively smallish, and they often don't own the mineral rights anyways.

          So one of the principal effects maybe to open the lake to drilling when the federal ban is removed.  Or with directional drilling, it may not even mean that there's a need to put oil rigs on the lake.

          by ManfromMiddletown on Thu May 26, 2011 at 03:15:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You're going blind, and we all know (0+ / 0-)

        what causes that.

        "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

        by Bob Love on Thu May 26, 2011 at 04:45:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and rec'ed I really get upset so I will (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DWG, Bob Love, avsp


    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Thu May 26, 2011 at 02:07:27 PM PDT

  •  Given the mess in Columbus w/OSU's football team (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DWG, TofG, WineRev

    They might as well start fracking right on OSU's campus. It could hardly make it any dirtier.

    •  THAT would be a creative response! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DWG, avsp

      Get a bunch of students/faculty together to file for an oil drilling permit at a given set of co-ordinates. Call it Kasich Partners LLC (Lying Liar Creep).
      State gives them a permit.

      Then start putting up an oil derrick on the 30 yard line of Ohio September. Make sure the Kasich name is on the derrick and all the equipment.

      No, Ohio doesn't have recall of governors. And this lege will not impeach.

      But you mess up Buckeye football and Ohio could have a coup!

      Just an idea!


      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Thu May 26, 2011 at 06:03:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, Ezekial 23 20, DWG, avsp

    This is modern conservatism in action. Privatize the profits and socialize the pollution. This is just sickening to know that our precious wild places will be violated and ruined. A pox on Kasich.

  •  Fracking induces earthquakes. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Here's an evidence-based diary by Roger Fox with the science. The two injection wells that caused the 4.7 quake at the end of February in Arkansas are still shut down.

    In Ohio, where are their pre-existing small faults? Where are the nuclear power plants?

    Ghastly news, DWG, but we need to know. Thank you.

  •  "Vote Republican - Frack America!" nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DWG, avsp

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Thu May 26, 2011 at 04:47:01 PM PDT

  •  Ohio's the new Texas! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DWG, avsp

    Just wait 'til you're able to light your drinking water.

    Ideology is an excuse to ignore common sense.

    by Bush Bites on Thu May 26, 2011 at 05:41:15 PM PDT

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