The Ohio Sierra Club Forest Committee is expanding its horizons and volunteer base. Co-chaired by Bob Kyle and Loraine McCosker, the committee has focused on many needs of the Wayne National Forest and State Forests in 2008.
This year, the Forest Committee will be focused on several issues including preparing for the Heartwood Conference on May 23-26, 2008. We will also work on changing House Bill 357, which would open up state parks and nature preserves to oil and gas drilling if passed. Another focus will be on fighting the NiSource company's permit to destroy the habitats of endangered species in Ohio and 16 other states. Each of these issues is explained in more detail in the state forests section below.
2008 will bring strength and vitality to the Forest Committee. We will offer a series of workshops to strengthen the knowledge base and interests of volunteers. The Forest Committee will develop policies specific to Ohio forests and ecosystems that will include prescribed burning policy and all-terrain-vehicle use on public lands, as well ascollaborate on oversight of state forest lands that are being opened for bids on logging. We welcome all interested Ohio Sierrans to help the Forest Committee work to protect precious public lands.
Contact Bob Kyle for state forest issues at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Loraine McCosker for Wayne National Forest issues at: email@example.com
|Save The Date
|Important Community Meetings to Discuss Unprecedented Request by NiSource Columbia Gas
Background: In 2007 NiSource, the parent company of Columbia Gas outlined their efforts to acquire a 50-year permit from United States Fish and Wildlife Service officials to work on and repair their 16,000+ mile network of natural gas pipelines and storage units without triggering endangered species reviews. This permit seeks to cover a one-mile planning corridor centered over existing natural gas facilities owned by the gas transmission company. Over 3,000 miles of the pipeline is located in Ohio. To view a Service Map of the project go to: http://www.nisource.com/commitment_hcp.asp
According to NiSource, "The one-mile corridor (half mile on either side of the pipeline) was chosen because it allows NiSource to think more broadly about the kinds of effects NiSource may have on endangered species. It also allows NiSource to plan more proactively for our future operation, maintenance and construction activities."
Buckeye Forest Council, Ohio Environmental Council, and Sierra Club Ohio Chapter are organizing these community information sessions for the purpose of raising awareness about the NiSource request and to alert Ohioans about opportunities for public input.
All Sessions 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, September 9
Upper Arlington Library
2800 Tremont Road
Upper Arlington, OH 43221
Wednesday September 10
Athens County Extension Office
280 West Union Street
Athens, OH 45701
Monday September 15
Loudonville Public Library
122 E Main Street
Loudonville, OH 44842
Tuesday September 16
Lakeland Community College
7700 Clocktower Drive
Kirtland, OH 44094-5198
http://lakelandcc.edu/geneinfo/ - Directions
Tuesday, September 23
Holland Public Library Near U of T Medical College
1032 South McCord Rd,
Holland, OH 43528
In addition to information about the NiSource plan, the agenda will include an opportunity for Ohio Environmental Council to discuss the availability of legal assistance to homeowners impacted by the plan.
There will also be updated information about the REX pipeline, which is crossing the southern part of Ohio as it pertains to the NiSource request.
Representative Jim McGregor (R - District 20, Gahana) introduced HB 357, the Alternative Energy Development bill, on October 18,2007. The bill has provisions that wil aid Ohio's move to research and develop alternative energy sources. However, there are also provisions that would make available so-called "developed" portions of state-owned land for oil and gas drilling.
This bill broadly defines "developed land" to mean land that is owned by a state agency, and land for which a state agency owns the mineral rights and is covered by concrete, asphalt, gravel, turf, crops, or fields that have plants or trees not exceeding ten years of growth. This bill also establishes a "State Land Royalty Fund" into which proceeds from oil and gas extraction leases are to be credited, and further specifies that money in the Fund be appropriated by the General Assemblyl for capital and operating expenses of state agencies whose land is leased for oil and gas extraction. Should this bill become law, it could put state agencies such as ODNR in the position of having to lease public land for oil and gas drilling in order to provide its own operating funding. For more information, see our Action Alert on the Forest webpage on the Ohio Chapter's website. To comment, contact Representative Jim McGregor by email or phone at (614) 644-6002.
Nisource is a natural gas distribution company seeking an Incidental Take Permit for operating and maintaining its network of pipelines in seventeen northeastern, midwestern, and southeastern states, covering 15,500 miles of transmission lines. The Endangered Species Act requires and approved Habitat Conservation Plan before an Incidental Take Permit is granted. The Incidental Take Permit allows the "taking" of an endangered species because it destroys their habitat.
What is incredible about this project is the magnitude and the degree of the"taking" of endangered species by Nisource. Seventy-five known species are documented withing the plan while their conservation needs are to be addressed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for issuing the Incidental Take Permit for endangered species. Please click here to view the Federal Register announcement of Nisouce's Incidental Take Permit application. For more information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, please click here.
In the spring of 2006, Columbia Gas Transmission announced that it would permanently deforest 1 out of every 12 acres of the Mohican. Citing the need for easier infrastructure maintenance and helicopter surveillance, Columbia Gas proposed to deforest a 50-foot swath along 13 miles of pipeline and a 300-foot radius around several storage wells. Hundreds of Ohioans attended public meetings, wrote letters and organized in opposition to Columbia's proposed cut.
In February 2007 Columbia Gas and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources signed a Memorandum of Understanding to define the limits of well head maintenance within the Mohican Memorial State Forest, Mohican State Park and the Clear Fork Nature Preserve. The MOU limits the cutting and clearing to a total of 120 ft radius around each of the natural gas storage wells for which Columbia has existing leases in the forest, park and preserve. Columbia has delayed any clearing of the miles of pipeline. Their decision for the delay is to attempt to improve their 'public image' by showing a 'good fair effort of cooperation.'
On April 10, 2007 the Columbus Dispatch reported that Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation had illegally cut 70 trees in the Mohican-Memorial State Forest. To view the article, please visit: April 10, 2007 Columbus Dispatch Article on Mohican
The Ohio Chapter will
to work with Ohio Department of Natural Resources, other environmental groups and the media to watchdog Columbia Gas and to limit their arrogant invasions onto public and private property. If you are interested in getting involved email Bob Kyle.
|Sierrans Tour Forest Chosen for Timber Cut
|By Loraine McCosker, Ohio Forest Committee Chair, March/April 2007
The Forest Committee participated in a hike and interpretive tour of a site in the Hocking State Forest that has been sold for logging. Twenty-five Sierrans braved the rain and mud to walk an area of the Hocking State Forest with Paul Knoop, retired Audubon naturalist and current volunteer for the Appalachian Ohio Alliance. We all enjoyed the opportunity to be outside and lean more about this area.
Paul described the problems with the selling and logging of this site while pointing out the specifics of the plants and trees representing 133 acres of old growth ecosystem that is adjacent to a hemlock ravine and nature preserve.
Wayne National Forest
WE NEED YOUR HELP TODAY in order to protect the Wayne National Forest for future generations.