Wayne to lease acreage with minerals

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Wayne National Forest is Ohio's only national forest with more than 160,000 acres.

A total of 3,579 of those acres (50 tracts) that contain minerals will be available for new oil and gas development in the near future at a competitive bid lease sale set for September.

According to online records of the U.S. Forest Service and Ohio Oil and Gas Association, the tract sale does not include 1,055 acres in the original proposal due to "sensitive environmental concerns," but information indicated the status of the excluded tracts may be reconsidered in the future.

Email newsletter signup

The decision to consent to lease was issued by Mary Redden, forest supervisor for WNF. Redden was the supervisor during past challenges by environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and the Buckeye Forest Council's opposition to logging and timber sales.

In 1998, the forest encompassed 178,000 federally-owned acres.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association represents more than 1,200 independent crude oil and natural gas producers and related allied industries by advocating before the Ohio General Assembly, Congress, state and federal administrators and the public.

The association is currently focusing on Substitute House Bill 278 - legislation supporting Ohio's oil and gas development sponsored by Rep.Tom Niehaus, R-New Richmond, that declares "the Division of Mineral Resources Management in the Department of Natural Resources has exclusive authority to regulate the permitting, location and spacing of oil and gas wells in the state; and revises the laws governing the drilling of oil and gas; and the oil and natural gas marketing program."

The bill received Senate approval in April and Gov. Bob Taft signed the bill June 17.

"The passage of this legislation is a watershed event for Ohio's oil and gas operators," said Bill Kinney, OOGA president.