DECEMBER 2011 REGULATORY ALERT
December 10 , 2011 —Ohio EPA Seeks Public Comment on Draft General Permit for Wetland and Stream Impacts at Shale Gas Well Sites
Source: Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
As gas exploration, drilling and production increases in Ohio’s Marcellus and Utica shale formations, the Ohio EPA seeks to ensure that impacts to waters of the state are minimized while providing business with an effective and efficient permitting process. To meet these objectives, the Ohio EPA has issued a draft general permit for wetland and stream impacts at shale gas well sites and is seeking public comment before finalizing the permit.
Under the draft general permit, authorized impacts are limited to no more than 0.5 acre of low- to medium-quality wetlands and 300 feet of streams. Qualifying activities include the construction of drilling pads, reserve and mud pits, fresh-water and flowback water storage ponds, transmission lines and access roads. Applicants are required to mitigate any approved wetland and stream impacts by contributing to the preservation, restoration or replacement of Ohio’s water resources.
Because the general permit would limit impacts, the Ohio EPA could review and decide on a permit within 30 days of receiving a complete application. Applicants wanting to impact larger areas or high-quality wetlands and streams will need to obtain an individual permit that is subject to a more detailed review that may last up to six months. In either case, all applicants also need to obtain a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The draft general permit and related information are available by clicking here. Citizens, environmental groups, industry and other interested parties are encouraged to review the documents and submit comments to Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water, Attn: Permits Processing Unit, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The public comment period ends January 13, 2012.
The permit is expected to be finalized and made available to applicants in early 2012.
NOVEMBER 2011 LEGISLATIVE ALERT
November 6 , 2011 —Say No to Tar Sands Pipeline: Proposed Keystone XL Project Would Deliver Dirty Fuel at a High Cost
Source: National Resoureces Defense Council
The Canadian pipeline company TransCanada has proposed a tar sands pipeline that could bring as much as 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) of costly and polluting fuel to the U.S. Gulf Coast. This pipeline, called Keystone XL, will lock the United States into a dependence on hard-to-extract oil and generate a massive expansion of the destructive tar sands oil operations in Canada. In addition to the damage that would be caused by the increased tar sands extraction, the pipeline threatens to pollute freshwater supplies in America’s agricultural heartland and increase emissions in already-polluted communities of the Gulf Coast.
Instead of carrying common crude oil, the Keystone XL pipeline would carry thick, toxic bitumen for refining in the Gulf states, effectively transporting pollution from Canada to the United States. Despite arguments that the pipeline would increase energy security, it would in fact create the first international market for tar sands oil. To date, Canada has not approved dedicated tar sands pipelines to its East or West Coast.
The United States should instead implement a comprehensive oil savings plan and reduce oil consumption by increasing fuel efficiency standards, hybrid cars, renewable energy, environmentally sustainable biofuels, and
smart growth to meet our transportation needs.
President Obama will make a decision about this in the very near future. It is up to him and him only as to whether it will become a reality. The project is considered by every scientific group that has studied it to be an environmental disaster of the first magnitude. Please urge the President to say NOto this project.
President Obama’s direct-line phone number is 1-312-698-3670.
OCTOBER 2011 LEGISLATIVE ALERT
October 27 , 2011 —Gas Drilling Leases in Portage County
Please let your friends, relatives, and neighbors in Portage County know that the Portage County commissioners have been approached with one or more leases. At least one commissioner is concerned about fracking, one may be somewhat concerned (not sure), and the third thinks leasing will be a wonderful way to get some money into Portage County. Their contact information is at the bottom of this message.
The more reasons not to lease land we can all come up with, the better. To view the commissioners’ public calendar, click here. The next public comment periods are Monday (October 31) and Tuesday (November 1) from 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. When six of us showed up last Thursday to speak against gas drilling, they allowed us 45 to 50 minutes altogether.
The upcoming public calendar shows that "Water Resources" will be discussed on November 1 (Tuesday) from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. If anyone is free and can go to the public meeting to find out what that's about, that would be great. It would be good (if you can) to get there a little early, as you are supposed to fill out a form. The commissioners' rules may or may not allow random public citizens to speak when they have something scheduled like that. Water Resources is clearly related to fracking, so please attend if you can. The commissioners typically have a public comment period from 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., usually on Tuesday and Thursday, but evidently that is not always the case, since that's not true next week.
Commissioners’ Contact Information:
Tommie Jo Marsilio
The Board of County Commissioners clerk is Deborah Mazanec. It would be good to include her also.
JUNE 2011 LEGISLATIVE ALERT
June 14 , 2011 —Tell the President You Don't Want to Breathe Smog
Take a deep breath.
If you're lucky, the air that just filled your lungs was low in smog. According to the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must set air quality standards to protect public health. Based on the science, the EPA is expected to set a new smog standard this July. The oil, coal and other polluting industries are pressuring the Obama administration to delay the standard or to issue a weak standard so that they can continue to pollute our air in order to meet their bottom line.
Send a message to President Obama. Tell him to stand up against pollution and keep our air clean.
Our health and environment are under attack by big polluters. We can’t let them stop the EPA’s efforts to clean up life-threatening pollution, an action that will save thousands of lives and improve the quality of life for millions more.
- Send President Obama a message now! Ask him to fight for a strong smog standard to protect the health of all Americans, including those who are most vulnerable to air pollution—our children and seniors.
- Send this alert to other concerned citizens—your grassroots network, your friends and coworkers. Encourage them to contact the president.
League of Women Voters
1730 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
MARCH/APRIL 2011 LEGISLATIVE ALERT
March 24 , 2011 — Preserve State Parks
The new budget proposed by Gov. John Kasich authorizes private drilling for oil and gas in Ohio's state parks. At the same time, the severe spending cuts the budget calls for would compromise state government's ability to protect Ohio's environment and conserve its natural resources. The two ideas don't track.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director David Mustine, a former oil and gas company executive, has been studiously vague about how drilling would occur on 600,000 acres of state lands that many Ohioans thought were protected from exploitation.
In a teleconference after the governor released his budget proposal on March 15, Mustine suggested details may not be available for several months, or longer, about his department's plans to oversee drilling and to promote timber sales on state-owned land.
That's not good enough. Not when ODNR faces a 16 percent funding cut and a shrunken work force. Not when county soil and water conservation districts are looking at a 44 percent cut in state aid to help them protect water sources. Not when efforts to keep the state's water and air clean could be restricted by a proposed 12 percent budget cut to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Ohioans love the 75 state parks too much to invite their potential degradation from indiscriminate tree-cutting or groundwater contamination caused by careless drilling without stringent regulatory oversight and scrutiny.
For years, park users have dug deeper into their pockets to pay periodic fee increases to camp or dock their boats if that meant keeping their cherished natural areas open and pristine. The Kasich administration must keep faith with park users by showing—not telling—them how permitting drilling and increased timber sales are compatible with preserving the parks' true value.
Buckeye Forest Council
Protecting Ohio's native forests and their inhabitants.
What Can You Do?
- Call your Ohio legislators today to say: I believe that our state parks, state forests, state nature preserves, Lake Erie and other state properties should be off limits to oil and gas extraction. Vote NO on SB 108 and HB 133.
- Write a letter to your local newspaper.
- Spread the word to your family and friends in Ohio and ask that they do the same.
Here is the contact information you need:
Tim Ryan (Warren office): 800-856-4152
Washington, D.C.: 1 202 225 5241
Longworth House Office Bldg., Room 1421, Washington, DC 20515
Kathleen Clyde: email@example.com
Sherrod Brown (who is strongly against drilling in state parks): 202-224-2315
For more about this legislation, click here.