Ohio environmental groups oppose drilling leases

Oct 11, 2011

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) - An environmental coalition has joined local officials and a university protesting the lease of land for oil and natural gas drilling in the state's only national forest.

The Buckeye Forest Council and six other groups wrote the federal Bureau of Land Management last week opposing the lease of about 3,300 acres of the Wayne National Forest. The letter challenges the legality of the leasing to begin Dec. 7, saying the bureau relied on an outdated environmental impact statement that does not mention the hydraulic fracturing drilling technique.

Also called fracking, the process uses chemical-laced water to break deep shale and release gas. The groups say flowback can contain toxins and the process could lead to air-quality issues.

The city of Athens, Athens County and Ohio University also oppose the leases.