There won’t be new oil and gas leasing and fracking in the Wayne National Forest in Ohio, United States, since a judge ruled that such exploitation activities constitute a threat to public health, endangered species, and watersheds.
“This is a victory for public health, for outdoor recreation, and for our climate,” says Nathan Johnson, public lands director for the Ohio Environmental Council. “The Wayne is a public forest that we all own. Keeping its air and water clean, as well as its views intact, is a win that we can all celebrate.”
Following a federal judge’s ruling, some 40,000 acres of the forest won’t be open for fracking. New leases are blocked, new drilling permits on existing leases are prohibited as well as water withdrawals from the Little Muskingum River for drilling that have already been approved. It was proven that the Bureau of Land Management’s leasing plan would destroy Indiana bat habitat, pollute watersheds and water supply to millions of citizens, and put in danger many federally protected species. According to scientists, if a nationwide ban on fossil fuel leasing was imposed, carbon emissions would be down by 280 million tons per year.