Property rights take a back seat to fossil fuel profits

February 19, 2024

Dr. Randi Pokladnik

LTE Columbus Dispatch

Ohio pro-fossil-fuel laws are enabling both public and private lands to be exploited by out-of-state fossil fuel companies. In 2022, House Bill 507 was passed during the 2022 General Assembly “lame duck” session.

This bill did not accept public comments and opened up public lands for fracking leases.

The Oil and Gas Land Management Commission disregarded the nine criteria contained in the statute, the vocal disagreement of over 100 informed, angry Ohio citizens, and the peer-reviewed health and environmental studies.

Private lands are also open for fracking as citizens can be forced to participate in oil and gas development via a forced pooling or mandatory unitization action. Our family was recently notified that our land is no longer exclusively ours, but instead is a part of a unitization parcel.

The chief of the Division of Oil and Gas at ODNR approves a mandatory pooling application by considering correlative rights; providing for effective development and use; and promoting conservation of oil and gas. Environmental harms or health effects are not considered.

Landowners have the choice between participating in the drilling unit or nonparticipating and risking penalties. In Ohio, citizens’ property rights take a back seat to fossil fuel profits.