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PNS Daily Newscast - October 20, 2020 

GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander comes to the defense of Dr. Anthony Fauci; the NAACP goes to bat over student debt and Election 2020.

2020Talks - October 20, 2020 

Early voting starts in Florida, and North Carolina allows election officials to start the ballot curing process. Plus, Trump's attacks on Dr. Fauci.

Could Park Sale Lead to Drilling and Logging on Ohio's Public Land?

January 24, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The possible sale of an eastern Ohio state park has some residents and environmentalists worried about future uses that they say aren't in line with preserving public lands. Under the proposal, Jefferson Lake State Park would be sold to Jefferson County for a dollar. To keep the park operational, commissioners are considering allowing drilling and logging on the land. Local resident Bob Harris says that would pose a serious threat to the nearly 1,000-acre park and its surrounding areas.

"This is all low-lying land with a lot of water in it, and that makes it even more affordable (sic) to be polluted, in the chance that there may be a leak or something – because from what I understand, they use a lot of toxic chemicals when they do this drilling."

The Department of Natural Resources is reviewing the deal and environmental groups say the state is required to hold a public hearing on the matter. They warn the sale could pave the way for future public policies that could jeopardize other public lands.

Backers of the idea believe opening state parks to extractive activities would generate much-needed revenue. But Jen Miller, conservation program coordinator for the Sierra Club's Ohio Chapter, says the opportunities the lands provide for hunting, fishing and hiking are much more valuable.

"We need to remember that the state park system was founded during the Great Depression, which were obviously difficult economic times as well. Yet, the people of Ohio made a promise to future generations to preserve lands that we could all enjoy."

Initial plans were to downgrade Jefferson Lake State Park to a nature preserve. This proposal was developed under the previous administration, but Miller says she's hopeful that newly-elected Gov. John Kasich will resist drilling and logging in state parks, much like governors before him.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH