Wayne Coal Lease Decision Appealed
Nov07

Wayne Coal Lease Decision Appealed

For Immediate Release: November 5, 2013 Contact: Nathan Johnson, Staff Attorney, Buckeye Forest Council 614-949-6622 (Cell), Nathan@buckeyeforestcouncil.org Wayne Coal Lease Decision Appealed (Columbus, Ohio) – On Monday (Nov. 4), the Buckeye Forest Council (BFC) appealed a decision by Wayne National Forest (WNF) administration to approve a 433-acre coal lease sale in the forest. BFC was joined in its appeal by the Ohio Environmental Council, Earthjustice, Center for Biological Diversity, Heartwood, and the Sierra Club. The WNF coal would be subject to underground room and pillar mining and would likely be combusted in electricity-generating coal plants. BFC and its partners argue that WNF officials illegally ignored pollution and climate change impacts associated with the coal lease. “The air, water, and climate change pollution resulting from this project would be substantial. When burned, the WNF coal’s greenhouse gas emissions would roughly equal the annual emissions from 622,359 passenger vehicles,” said Nathan Johnson, attorney for appellant BFC. See WNF Environmental Assessment, page 40 (“Approximately 2,987,322 metric tons CO2e would be generated from the burning of the coal to produce electricity.”); available at: http://bit.ly/186mJvO; USEPA, “Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator,” http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html (last viewed Oct. 30, 2013). “Forest Service figures and USEPA calculations suggest that Wayne National Forest as a whole would have to sequester carbon for over ten years just to account for the greenhouse gases from this single project,” added Johnson. “WNF officials nevertheless concluded that the GHG emissions from this lease would be insignificant. They are plainly mistaken.” Ironically, a stated objective of the US Forest Service is to “lead efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.” (USDA, Forest Service Strategic Plan for FY 2010 – 2015: Objective 2.2; available at: http://www.ocfo.usda.gov/usdasp/sp2010/sp2010.pdf). The appellants charge that Wayne officials also refused to look at acid rain, smog, mercury contamination, and water contamination effects that would likely result from the project. “Forest Service dropped the ball by writing off the many benefits of keeping this coal in the ground. If the lease is denied, this specific coal will not be extracted, its carbon not released into the atmosphere, its mercury not deposited in streams to bioaccumulate, nor its particulates inhaled by at-risk populations near power plants who are already prone to asthma and death from poor air quality,” said Johnson. BFC and its partners are troubled by the Forest Service’s refusal to consider impacts associated with coal ash, the second largest industrial waste stream in the United States. Ohio has some of the worst coal waste regulations in the nation. Ohio regulations fail to require all new and existing coal ash ponds and landfills to monitor groundwater or install composite liners, nor does...

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2013 Fundraiser: RSVP
Sep19

2013 Fundraiser: RSVP

It’s that time of year and we are pleased to announce that we will be having our annual fundraiser at the Global Gallery Short North location: 682 N. High St., Columbus, OH on Friday, October 18th.  20% of all purchases on Friday at the Short North location will go to benefit the Buckeye Forest Council. RSVP below: Name(required) Email(required) Will You Be There?(required) Yes No Maybe How Many Guests? 1 2 3 4+ Additional...

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Support Frack Pack Legislation: BFC Alert
Aug20

Support Frack Pack Legislation: BFC Alert

Support Frack Pack legislation! Click here to take action!  View the full support letter here. Loopholes in major environmental protection laws allow the oil and gas industry to conduct fracking activities with no regard for consequences to air, water, climate, and public and environmental health. Important federal legislation has been introduced that would close loopholes in four critical statutes –– the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) –– and ensure that oil and gas production and waste disposal are held to the same health and environmental standards as other harmful industrial activities. Please act now to support this critical legislation! Buckeye Forest Council has joined with 205 other organizations to urge passage of these important bills. Please contact your federal legislators today to urge them to co-sponsor these bills: The FRAC Act (H.R. 1921, S. 1135) closes the loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that excludes hydraulic fracturing from SDWA’s Underground Injection Control Program (UIC). The UIC program is intended to protect underground sources of drinking water from endangerment, but a 2005 amendment expressly exempted fracking operations from the regulatory requirements of the SDWA/UIC permitting program unless diesel is used in the fracking fluid. This leaves sources of drinking water in more than 30 oil- and gas-producing states unprotected by the SDWA, even though hundreds of chemicals— many of them toxic and/or carcinogenic—are used during fracking. The FRAC Act would also require companies to publicly disclose chemicals used in fracking. The BREATHE Act (H.R. 1154) closes the loopholes in the Clean Air Act (CAA) that currently allow emissions of significant toxic air pollution from oil and gas exploration and production. Under the CAA, the comprehensive law regulating air pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency sets emissions standards for cars, factories, and other sources of air pollutants. The oil and gas industry, however, is exempt from the law’s requirement that the emissions of multiple related small sources under common ownership be aggregated to determine total emissions. As a result, wells and related facilities do not have to meet the same air quality standards for emissions of hazardous air pollution (including volatile organic compounds, smog-forming nitrogen oxides, and carcinogens) that other major sources of these dangerous pollutants must meet, even if they are closely sited and if their cumulative emissions are significant. The FRESHER Act (H.R. 1175) would close the loophole in the Clean Water Act (CWA) that endangers water quality from oil and gas production activities. The CWA is the foundational law that protects American rivers, streams, wetlands, and other waterways from pollution. Under the CWA, a permit...

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Give ‘Wilderness’ Designation to Backcountry Area of Shawnee State Forest
Aug14

Give ‘Wilderness’ Designation to Backcountry Area of Shawnee State Forest

Biodiversity Must Be Protected For Future Generations: The Ohio Division of Forestry (DOF) is proposing to eliminate an important “backcountry” designation for 8,000 acres of biodiverse forest in Southern Ohio.  Tell DOF that they need to keep the Shawnee Backcountry Area (BCMA) intact.  The BCMA should be state Wilderness and not a clear-cut zone!! •Ohio Division of Forestry should strengthen the habitat protections for the 8,000 acres of Backcountry Area of Shawnee State Forest in Scioto and Adams counties. •The best way to protect State designated “Endangered” and “Threatened” species is to permit no timbering, burning or vehicle access in large, un-fragmented areas. –The public has limited time to respond; please sign prior to August 30, 2013! We have provided the form below to send an email directly to Nate Jester at the Ohio Division of Forestry.  If you feel more comfortable, please feel free to access and print the PDF of the letter and snail mail the letter directly to Nate Jester.  Click here for the PDF. —————————————————- As a resident of Ohio, I want the Backcountry Management Area of Shawnee State Forest given the designation of a protected Wilderness. It's my belief that Ohio needs to do more to create areas for rare species to thrive. Your Name  :  * Your Email  :  * City  :  * Additional Message  :  Enter Code : *...

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Get Your State Forest Comments In!  Fracking and Logging Planned!
Jul31

Get Your State Forest Comments In! Fracking and Logging Planned!

For Immediate Release: July 29, 2013 ODNR proposes elimination of important habitat protections in 8,000-acre Shawnee Forest Backcountry Area;Feds plan to open entire Blue Rock State Forest to fracking Press Contact: Nathan Johnson, Staff Attorney for the Buckeye Forest Council: (614) 949-6622, Nathan@buckeyeforestcouncil.org Shawnee Backcountry Area Threatened: Reversing 14 years of management for habitat protection, the Ohio Division of Forestry (DOF) has announced plans to eliminate an 8,000 acre Backcountry Management Area (BCMA) in Shawnee State Forest in Scioto and Adams Counties. Conservation leaders believe the radical change in management will devalue the public’s investment and threaten rare and endangered species, including the timber rattlesnake. The Shawnee BCMA currently includes the following special protections not enjoyed by most of Ohio’s state forest lands: (1) Two existing roads in the BCMA are closed to vehicular traffic; (2) clear-cuts are limited to 25 acres maximum; (3) cuts can only occur on a 250-year rotation cycle; (4) management must be coordinated with the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves and the Division of Wildlife to help protect state listed species; and (6) future recreational developments must be “low impact.” DOF is proposing to dissolve all of these protections along with the BCMA designation, itself, in favor of a new “Intensive Management” zoning designation. “This is a big and unfortunate development that would shortchange both the public and some of the state’s most sensitive species,” said Nathan Johnson, staff attorney for the Ohio-based Buckeye Forest Council. According to ODNR surveys, the Backcountry Area is home to numerous sensitive and state-designated threatened and endangered species, including the timber rattlesnake, the small whorled pogonia (flowering plant), the river redhorse (fish), the bobcat, and the eastern box turtle. Black bear may also be present in the BCMA. The area borders Ohio’s only state-designated wilderness area, the 8,000 acre Shawnee Wilderness Area. “How can state forest managers justify this wholesale reversal of protection? The state’s own surveys confirm this backcountry management area is a refuge for several threatened species. So much for public involvement and the ‘shelf life’ of a Division of Forestry management plan,” said Jack Shaner, Deputy Director and Senior Director of Legislative & Public Affairs for the Ohio Environmental Council. “DOF’s plan to dissolve the BCMA would open one of Ohio’s most ecologically sensitive areas to significantly more logging and road traffic and would remove protections for threatened and endangered species. Already, Ohio ranks a measly 47th in public land available per citizen. Our state has a desperate need for more wild, protected habitat – not less,” added Johnson. Rather than dissolve the BCMA, state conservation groups are calling on DOF to instead...

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