End Subsidies for Logging State Forests
Dec27

End Subsidies for Logging State Forests

Economic analysis reveals state forest timber sales unfairly compete with private sector and are a “loss leader” for taxpayers. The Shawnee State Forest Economic Study, released today by the Buckeye Forest Council, the Ohio Environmental Council the Sierra Club Ohio Chapter, and Voices for the Forest details how the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Forestry (DOF) management of our state forests is a loss leader for Ohio taxpayers. The 192-page report analyzes DOF practices such as producing goods and services, like timber, that could be provided by the private sector, verses the economic benefits of managing state forests for intact forest ecosystems services, which would require comparatively little management. The study reveals the DOF’s published cost of timber harvesting in state forests is substantially less than the actual cost of those practices. Taxpayer subsidies make up for remaining costs from revenue sources other than timber, most likely from the state general revenue fund. In other words, a portion of, and in some cases all, of the money distributed to local communities from timber harvests on state forest land actually is financed by taxpayers, not timber sales. Our state forests provide the greatest economic benefit to their owners – the people of Ohio – when they are left intact, not logged,” said Johncox. “It is time for the DOF to be re-purposed to better reflect the expressed needs of Ohio citizens in the 21st century.” Read the entire press release here. Read the Executive Summery Read the Full Report Columbus Dispatch Article: State looses money on logging critics say. Editorial: Add it UP: State should answer logging critics with an accounting of costs ONN TV News Coverage: Environmentalists ready for budget cuts Editorial Toledo Blade: Logging...

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BIOMESS: Burning Trees for Energy!
Dec03

BIOMESS: Burning Trees for Energy!

Coal fired power plants want to burn trees as “biomass” on a huge scale to make energy and call it “green and clean.” The Ohio Public Utilities Commission has approved this practice to receive renewable energy credits. Old coal power plants prefer not to use agricultural crops for fuel because they cause corrosion and high emissions. Chipped trees will be the fuel of choice to burn with coal in a practice called co-firing. Current proposals from power plants would require the clear-cutting of all forests in Ohio in just over 15 years to supply fuel. Trees were included as a renewable fuel in Ohio’s Renewables Portfolio in SB 221, and power companies are driving a fleet of trucks through this loophole in order to avoid expensive investments in wind and solar. Adding insult to injury, burning trees for energy emits 150% of the CO2 that burning coal does, because wood is an inefficient heat source. In addition, it will take 30-90 years of new growth to re-capture the CO2 that is released instantly from burning trees for...

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BFC to WNF: Study Fracking!
Nov08

BFC to WNF: Study Fracking!

Green Groups Call on Wayne National Forest to Study Fracking Before Leasing.  Eight Ohio and national environmental organizations submitted a position letter regarding high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (HVHHF), or “fracking,” in the Wayne National Forest to Forest Supervisor Anne Carey yesterday, June 4, 2012. Read the Letter Here....

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Quail Hollow Fracking Event
Oct22

Quail Hollow Fracking Event

For Immediate Release: Concerned Citizens Gather at Ohio’s First Fracked Park Contacts: John Makley, Mohican Advocates, 419-709-6461, john@mohicanadvocates.org Nathan Johnson, Buckeye Forest Council, 614-949-6622, nathan@buckeyeforestcouncil.org   (Hartville, Ohio) – On Sunday, more than 50 concerned citizens converged at Quail Hollow State Park to protest the leasing and fracking of the park through a controversial legal maneuver known as “unitization.” The event, which included a hike and discussion forum, was led by the green groups Buckeye Forest Council, Ohio Environmental Council, the Sierra Club of Ohio, and Mohican Advocates. Unitization is a decades-old, almost never-used Ohio law that allows oil and gas companies to force unwilling property owners to surrender their land to drilling and fracking. “The Quail Hollow unitization essentially forced every citizen in Ohio to surrender their land,” said John Makley of Mohican Advocates. “The public had no say in the process,” said Melanie Houston, Director of Environmental Policy & Environmental Health for the Ohio Environmental Council. The state legislature opened Ohio’s parks to fracking in the summer of 2011, provided that any park land at issue go through public comment and a formal review and nomination process.  However, Chesapeake’s special unitization order allowed the company to avoid the public input and review process. “The unitization of Quail Hollow shut out the public from the opportunity to have full knowledge of and comment on this use of their publicly-owned resource,” Houston stated. “Ohio’s unitization law was passed decades ago to resolve disputes between oil and gas companies and was not intended to be a back door into the public’s parks,” said Nathan Johnson, Staff Attorney for the Buckeye Forest Council. Until the shale rush hit, the law was largely forgotten and almost never used. “The oil and gas industry has rediscovered unitization as a tool to take what it wants from an unwilling public,” added Johnson. “Shockingly, the only legal rationale for unitization is more money for the oil and gas industry,” said Johnson. Oil and gas companies can legally force unitization if doing so is deemed “reasonably necessary” to “substantially” increase their profits. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued a unitization order on July 10th of this year that enabled Chesapeake Energy to force-pool a 4-acre portion of the park along with land held by 23 property owners who refused to sign a lease with the company. “The idea that Chesapeake needed Quail Hollow to substantially increase its profits is not acceptable – the 4 unitized acres of the park are at the extreme southeastern-most tip of a 959-acre drilling unit,” said Loraine McCosker, Co-Chair of the Forests and Public Lands Committee of the Ohio Sierra Club....

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BFC leads national and state environmental groups’ protest of Wayne National Forest oil and gas lease sale
Jul12

BFC leads national and state environmental groups’ protest of Wayne National Forest oil and gas lease sale

Buckeye Forest Council (BFC)––on behalf of BFC; Natural Resources Defense Council; Sierra Club Ohio Chapter; Center for Health, Environment and Justice; Heartwood; Environment Ohio; and Ohio Environmental Council–-has filed a formal protest letter with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over proposed sales of gas and oil leases on five parcels totaling 3,302 acres of the Wayne National Forest in Athens, Perry, and Gallia counties. The protest joins others submitted last week by Ohio University, Athens County Commissioners, Athens City Council, Athens City administration, Athens Conservancy,Hocking River Commission, and dozens of individual citizens. BFC’s protest alleges violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the National Forest Management Act (NFMA).  See the formal protest letter...

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