to protect Lake Erie rates public review
Rep. Chris Redfern's persistence in trying to protect Lake
Erie should be appreciated by area residents whose quality
of life is greatly affected by the quality of the lake.
And other area lawmakers, including Rep. Jeff Wagner,
R-Sycamore, should work to see that Redfern's proposals
get a fair hearing.
The Catawba Island Democrat tried again to get a legislative
ban on Lake Erie drilling. His amendment to a Republican-sponsored
bill on drilling regulations was tabled.
Redfern introduced a bill in February to ban Lake Erie
drilling. Thus far, it has received one committee hearing
and shows no signs of moving.
Ban supporters are concerned that drilling could pollute
the lake and disrupt the scenic conditions that contribute
$2.5 billion a year in travel and tourism revenue to Ohio's
But the Ohio Oil and Gas Association has argued that
natural gas exploration is safe, and Lake Erie has had
no environmental disasters from previous drilling.
Redfern's proposed ban deserves a fair and very public
hearing, and Wagner says he voted against the amendment
because he believes that the idea should go through hearings
and a vote in committee before it is brought to the full
There's nothing wrong with that argument, except that
the plan doesn't seem headed for any hearing anytime soon.
Redfern has been pushing for years to ban drilling under
the lake. Gov. Bob Taft last year signed an executive
order outlawing such drilling.
While Redfern said he appreciated the governor's effort,
the order only lasts until Taft leaves office in 2006.
That's why he's pushing to get it into law.
A healthy Lake Erie is important to the quality of life
and economy of Wagner's district, which reaches to Sandusky
Bay, and countless individuals, businesses and organizations
with direct ties to or interest in the lake.
We believe strongly that the lake needs to be protected
but serious formal -- and very public -- hearings might
prove that some forms of drilling would be safe. We don't
know for sure. But we do know that we don't want to depend
on the Oil and Gas Association to tell us that everything's
Saying he knows it's the right thing to do, Redfern promises
to continue offering these proposals.
Wagner and others all across northern Ohio should be
as enthusiastic about protecting the lake and making sure
that such a plan gets a fair hearing before being approved