The Ohio chapter of the Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit in Franklin County Common Pleas Court against the Ohio Department of Natural Resources over fracking in state parks. According to the environmental group, they requested public records related to House Bill 133, which created an Oil and Gas Leasing Commission to oversee state land leases for oil and gas drilling and exploration across the state.
The Sierra Club requested documents regarding fracking in state parks over five months ago however, the ODNR have not provided the group with those documents, nor has it provided a written explanation of its refusal. In a statement, the manager of the Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club, Jed Thorp, said “Ohioans have the right to know about the backroom deals being made to bring fracking into our state parks.” He continued, “The reckless natural gas industry has no place fracking on some of our state’s most beautiful public lands.”
Ohio law requires any group to provide public records “within a reasonable period of time,” or provide a written explanation of any denial.
Carlo LoParo, spokespersons for the Department of Natural Resources, said that they records are not completed, and that the agency would be providing them over the next few weeks. “It’s not an issue of public records being denied…The documents are being assembled where they exist; being finalized where they’re not yet complete.” However, an open-government law expert says, “It seems absolutely inane that it would take so long” to respond, the Plain Dealer reports.
The lawsuit seeks the requested records as well as payment for attorney fees and court costs.