“The measure is intended to raise revenues to help with State Parks maintenance, but environmentalists are outraged,” the news service reported.
Environmental conservationists say the plan is not a viable solution to current budget problems. Brandi Whetstone of the Sierra Club compared the proposal to “cutting your nose off to pay for a face lift when they’re proposing that we impose development in parks to pay for maintenance.”
The proposal was made part of the overall budget, but opponents say the proposal should be a separate piece of legislation to allow citizens to provide opinions about the use of public lands.
Drilling in state forests and wildlife areas is already permitted, according to the Ohio News Connection, but Buckeye Forest Council’s David Maywhoor says the cost to the public landscapes is high.
“...we see ongoing devastation in the forests,” he says. “We want to make sure that doesn’t happen in our state parks and our nature preserves.”
Supporters of the measure say the drilling would be done in as environmentally-friendly a way as possible, according to the report, and the money would be used to help state parks. Some supporters say it could raise as much as $20 million for that purpose.
We believe anything that is a potential revenue source should be explored thoroughly as a way to help save our park system from cuts and losses as a result of the erosion of revenues we’re facing in Ohio’s budget. However, we also agree that a measure such as this proposal should be given its time for examination and a thorough review of the potential results, be they positive or negative, before turning it into a law.
The proposal being discussed should be treated as a separate piece of legislation undergoing due process, with more thorough review and time for both sides to clarify their points.