GOVERNOR Taft has wisely declared his intent to sign an
executive order banning oil and gas drilling in Lake Erie,
but itís clear that the energy industry continues to covet
whatever resources may lie beneath the lake bottom.
Maybe it is time, as state Rep. Chris Redfern of Port Clinton
suggests, for the General Assembly to enshrine the executive
ban more permanently by making it part of state law. In
any event, Erie and the other Great Lakes must not be subjected
to any activity that could pose a serious threat to the
drinking water supply of some 35 million people.
The issue has come up periodically during the 30 years Ohio
has maintained a moratorium against offshore drilling in
Lake Erie, and each time the answer has been no. Of the
eight states bordering the Great Lakes, only Michigan allows
"slant" drilling under the lakebeds from onshore rigs. Canada
permits offshore drilling in Lake Erie, fortunately without
any reported adverse effects so far.
Ohio natural resources officials, while denying any bias
in favor of drilling, say that private firms continue to
show interest in the lake, interest that is renewed whenever
energy prices spike. This has been the case even though
the lakebed apparently holds comparatively small energy
But it is one thing to drill for new natural gas in, say,
the sparsely populated state of Wyoming and quite another
to prospect in the middle of the drinking water source for
tens of millions of middle Americans.
Drilling technology may have reduced the chances of a catastrophic
spill, but why take even small chances with a crucial natural
The long-term public interest and safety will be best served
by maintaining the drilling ban, not only in Lake Erie but
in all of the Great Lakes.
This information is posted
for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S.
Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for
purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," you
must obtain permission from the copyright owner.