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Alabama must redraw its Congressional maps, CNN reports a former official told the feds Trump knew the process for declassifying documents, and Canadian wildfires affect the health of humans and wildlife.

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The Supreme Court upholds a key provision of the Voting Rights Act over Alabama redistricting, smoky skies could spell EPA trouble for some states, and President Biden calls on Congress to pass LGBTQ+ protections.

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Rural communities launch projects with funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a study says rural transgender adults feel less supported than those in urban areas, and a summer road trip could mean majestic scenic byways or a sprinkling of donut shops.

Judge Denies Environmental Groups Request to Block Fracking on State Lands

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Thursday, April 13, 2023   

Environmental Groups faced a setback this week when their legal petition to stop the mandatory leasing of public lands for fracking was denied by a Franklin County judge.

Earlier this year, Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 507 into law - which approves licenses for companies seeking to extract natural resources from state lands. The law went into effect last week.

Chris Tavenor - associate general counsel with the Ohio Environmental Council - said the move sacrifices the state's natural resources to oil and gas companies, and said advocates won't stop fighting for Ohioans' right to have a voice in decisions that impact their public lands.

"Today with the way that the law is written," said Tavenor, "these oil and gas companies could reach out to the state and the state would be required to lease land to them for oil and gas development."

The judge's ruling said that allowing the law to stand does not create immediate harm.

Environmental groups argue the law - which contains several provisions unrelated to leasing - violates the state constitution's one-subject rule, which requires laws to contain one subject that is clearly expressed in the title.

Tavenor pointed out that the law also denies the public the right to participate in public lands leasing decisions.

"When it comes to Ohioans having the right to have safe parks, to have parks free of oil and gas development," said Tavenor, "legislation can't just skirt around the rules."

According to research from Yale University, the fracking process creates vast amounts of wastewater, emits greenhouse gases such as methane, releases toxic air pollutants and generates noise.

Studies have shown these gas and oil operations can lead to loss of animal and plant habitats, species decline, migratory disruptions and land degradation.

This story was produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.





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