Bids for oil-and-gas leases on more than 3,000 acres of Wayne National Forest land will start at $2 an acre, according to an official of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
The "public notice" of the pending auction – set for Dec. 7 – consisted only of posting an announcement in the "public room" of the BLM's website, according to Larry R. Denny, acting deputy state director of resources for the agency. The BLM also provided the U.S. Surface Management Agency a copy of the auction notice, Denny said.....
...Athens City Council has also drafted a letter to the BLM, opposing the planned auction.
"Athens City, Ohio is a statutory city that relies upon a riparian aquifer as the sole source for its municipal water system," the letter says. "That aquifer is downstream from the parcels. We are concerned that the leasing, drilling and operation of the potential wells in the Utica shale will have a deleterious effect on our sole source municipal water supply. It must be noted that we have a meager water supply in general in unglaciated Ohio, and our water source is inextricably bound to the health of the Hocking River. We are also concerned that the leasing and drilling of these parcels could negatively impact human health, wildlife, habitat and recreational enjoyment… Given the experiences of our adjacent state, Pennsylvania, in the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale, we request that the Forest Service's determination be reconsidered for the parcels upstream from our municipal water supply… We request the withdrawal of the lease sale until the proper environmental analysis is conducted and our water supply is protected."
There seems to be some very smart people in Athens, Ohio. Even though the Ohio Republicans and Gov. John Kasich will say that nothing bad will happen because of fracking, we just need to look to Pennsylvania for evidence of what could happen.