Occupy the Wayne National Forest Community Cadre

Saturday September 10, 2016

Grover Center Ohio University

Facts and figures

The Forest Service (Regional Forester Kathleen Atkinson) and the Bureau of Land Management are still planning to frack in the Wayne Forest. Parcels are slated for an online December lease sale.

2,000 public comments were submitted against fracking in the Wayne in January of 2016- a clear indication of public concerns.

The Forest Service has chosen to ignore an Environmental Impact Study, which would evaluate current science and take account of community concerns, as required by federal law.

Supervisor Scardina has declined to hold or even attend a public meeting for community members since the comments period was closed.

Congress has mandated that National Forests must serve the public good, so legally the USFS should be basing its management on protection of ecosystem services, including climate protection, air and water purification, and biodiversity, not products, which are much less valuable per acre.

The Wayne Forest has the potential to sequester ~102.5 billion pounds of carbon emissions, according to the USDA[1] and the USFS,[2] but only if the Wayne is not also adding to pollution with methane and CO2 emissions and destruction of carbon sequestration by forest disturbance and fragmentation.

A study by NASA reveals that pollution from fossil fuel “development” is far worse than we initially thought.[3] And methane is 86-100x more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2 over the 20-year time frame, clearly the period of concern, as climate disruption escalates faster even than scientists predicted.

USDA’s 2015-2020 plan calls for climate mitigation and increased community benefits that sustain forests and grasslands.[4] “Multiple use,” by law, must be uses that do not degrade other more valuable uses.

Short-term profit followed by environmental destruction and economic devastation is, and has always been, the legacy of oil, gas, and coal in Southeast Ohio.

The Whitehouse has published a Presidential Directive that calls upon government agencies like the Forest Service to consider climate impacts in any significant decisions- the Wayne is ignoring this directive.[5]

 

Notes

[1] http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/gtr/gtr_wo059.pdf

[2] http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/22954

[3] http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/09oct_methanehotspot/

[4] http://www.fs.fed.us/strategicplan

[5] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/01/executive-order-preparing-united-states-impacts-climate-change

Community Cadre is a Sham

Forest Service Attempts to Distract from Fracking in the Wayne National Forest

Athens OH | September 10, 2016 On September 10th, the United States Forest Service and Ohio University will be hosting an invitation only “Community Cadre” in Grover Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to create the appearance of a conversation around extraction in the Wayne National Forest. While we are completely supportive of the inclusion of community groups in the U.S. Forest Service’s decision-making process, we believe that sitting down with the oil and gas industry is not in the best interests of our community. We have just learned that the USFS planned all along to give consent to lease and is not reviewing the Bureau of Land Management’s Environmental Assessment (EA) or the hundreds of comments submitted by our community on the Draft EA. According to a recording of the comments provided by the BLM, approximately 2,000 people publicly commented against fracking in the Wayne National Forest during the January 2016 comment period.  If the USFS was interested in being responsive to the community comments, it would heed the clear call of the vast majority of people in this region: No fracking on public lands. We call on the USFS to halt the planned out-of-state auction of our public lands to fracking companies. Unless the USFS representatives are taken to task, and unless oil and gas interests are roundly rejected, this “Community Cadre” only serves to help the USFS make a mockery of actual democratic processes and real community engagement. We propose that the planned “Community Cadre” become instead an open space for widespread community engagement, and invite any and all to join us on September 10th, at 12 p.m. in the Grover Center Atrium on Ohio University’s Main Campus. The Appalachian Ohio Group of the Sierra Club, Athens County Fracking Action Network, and Appalachia Resist are currently distributing a petition that can be found on change.org.

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