OEC In the News

Keep up with media coverage of the OEC and the issues that are important to you.

Environmental groups complain to U.S. EPA about state fracking oversight

January 27, 2015
Dozens of environmental-advocacy groups are challenging the authority of Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources to collect and share information about the hazardous and toxic chemicals the oil and gas industry uses in fracking operations. The groups, including the Center for Health and Environmental Justice, the Sierra Club and the Ohio Environmental Council, sent a letter on Friday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asking the agency to prevent routing the information through Natural Resources, which oversees the oil and gas industry.

Reversing regulation

January 25, 2015
But federal anti-pollution standards are a floor, not a ceiling. “What the coal industry may call red tape in reality are important protections for water quality,” Nathan Johnson, an attorney for the Ohio Environmental Council, told The Blade’s editorial page. “It involves the state agency going in and looking at the stream or wetland to make sure any requirements that make sense are put in place.”

Ohio’s oil and gas boom saw highs, lows in 2014

January 5, 2015
Fracking chemicals generally are protected from public disclosure by trade-secret laws. Wastewater usually ends up injected deep underground in wells throughout Ohio. “We’ve had no problem issuing over 1,000 permits, and we’ve been very expedient in terms of issuing permits,” said Melanie Houston, director of water policy and environmental health for the advocacy group Ohio Environmental Council.

Ohio bill’s fracking provisions could clash with federal law

December 4, 2014
However, critics don’t necessarily trust ODNR to get chemical inventory information to local responders when it’s needed. “ODNR’s track record is such that they haven’t done this in a timely manner in the past, and we think this should stay with the agency [SERC] that does this for all other industries,” said Melanie Houston at the Ohio Environmental Council.

Clean Up Lake Erie - For Real

December 4, 2014
The so-called reforms in the measure that ostensibly would make fracking safer and healthier not only are weaker than the improvements in enforcement that Mr. Kasich seeks, but also would roll back some current penalties, the Ohio Environmental Council reports. “The amended bill replaces that hammer with a tattered white flag” waved at flagrant and chronic polluters, the council says.

E-Check, reformulated gasoline likely to stay as Northeast Ohio deals with new federal ozone limits

December 1, 2014
Environmental and public health advocates hailed the EPA action. Many Republicans, manufacturers and the fossil fuels industry blasted the move as too costly for the benefit it might provide. “The proposed new limit will mean Ohio citizens benefit in two major ways: cleaner air and healthier lives,” said Trish Demeter of the Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group. She said 5 million Ohioans are at risk from smog-filled air.

Environmentalists fear bill would weaken Ohio fracking oversight

November 29, 2014
“The governor’s plan would have brought the hard hammer of justice against the most flagrant violators of human health and safety laws,” said Trent Dougherty, legal affairs director of Ohio Environmental Council. “The amended bill replaces that hammer with a tattered white flag.” 

Environmental group honors Sen. Gardner

November 27, 2014
Jack Shaner, deputy director of the Ohio Environmental Council, said Gardner was the only member of the Ohio General Assembly that the group honored this year. “We find him to be one of the most level-headed, thoughtful lawmakers,” Shaner said. He said Gardner is “one of those few who hews to the sensible center and who’s got the clout, got the respect to get things done. We are thrilled to give him some overdue recognition.”

New federal smog reduction plan would put Northeast Ohio out of compliance

November 26, 2014
Ohio Environmental Council's Trish Demeter countered that ignoring ozone pollution would cost more than implementing the suggested safeguards. "Compare the cost of reducing ozone with what families across Ohio pay in medical bills to take their asthmatic child into the doctor's office every so often because they have trouble breathing or to take care of an elderly parent or grandparent," said Demeter. "Overall, and nationally, the proposed rule will provide up to 38 billion dollars in public health benefits by 2025."

Risks of oil and gas pipelines weighed in local forum

November 25, 2014
The next speaker was Nathan Johnson, an attorney for the Ohio Environmental Council. Johnson discussed the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's (OEPA) proposal to eliminate state review of oil and gas pipelines and surface coalmines that pose a hazard to the state's waterways. This means that these pipelines and surface mines would be approved under nationwide permits without a state water quality review. This ruling would also eliminate the requirement of public notice and comment on these projects.