The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Nathan Johnson, Public Lands Director at the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:
“This week, the Conference Committee working on Ohio’s budget submitted Amended Substitute House Bill 49 (H.B. 49) to Governor Kasich. The bill includes an amendment that eliminates the governor’s authority to appoint members of the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission (R.C. 1509.71), the state body charged with leasing state lands to the oil and gas industry. The bill would give the governor’s appointment authority to the Speaker of the Ohio House and President of the Ohio Senate. Governor Kasich has declined to appoint members to the Commission since its creation in 2011.
“The Oil and Gas Leasing Commission amendment would fast track oil and gas development in Ohio’s state parks and most of Ohio’s state public lands. This is unacceptable. We cherish our state parks and state lands as places to hike, hunt, fish, and enjoy with our families. Oil and gas development simply does not belong there.
“These are lands that all Ohioans own, and we ask that they remain protected for the public’s enjoyment. The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund calls on Governor Kasich to stand up for our state public lands by vetoing this harmful and unwarranted amendment.”