COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) announced they have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over plans to frack the Wayne National Forest, the only national forest in Ohio. The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in Columbus.
“The Wayne is a public forest owned by every Ohioan and every American. The OEC is bringing this lawsuit because we want our children and grandchildren to know a Wayne that’s full of towering trees and thriving wildlife, not one that’s scarred by frack pads and pipelines,” said Nathan Johnson, Attorney and Public Lands Director for the Ohio Environmental Council.
Johnson said he believes the law is on the OEC's side.
“The agencies are required to closely review the environmental consequences of their leasing decisions, and they didn’t do their required homework," he added. "They refused to even acknowledge that oil and gas pipelines will be a major disruptive presence in the forest. We’re looking at a textbook legal failure on their part.”
According to OEC, the BLM's stated intention is to lease off 40,000 acres of the Wayne National Forest’s Marietta Unit to oil and gas operators. They said this sets up approximately two-thirds of the Unit to be auctioned off in upcoming quarterly BLM lease sales.
The Ohio Environmental Council said they are a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) conservation organization whose mission is to secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home.