ODNR Hosts Educational Open House in Athens
This week, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management held an open-house style information meeting for the public on Ohio’s Class II injection wells. Held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife office in Athens, the public had an opportunity to speak with experts in several facets involved in injection wells.
ODNR representatives presented at tables throughout the open-house, each focused on a different subject, including; enforcement, inspectors, brine hauling, Department of Health, water, seismology, permitting, and geology. If the experts couldn’t answer any question a citizen might have, comment cards were available.
Although a small group of activists chose to ignore the opportunity for education, many citizens outside of these groups came out to the event to further their understanding of the process.
Bethany McCorkle, Chief of Communications for ODNR, took some time out of the meeting to speak with EID about the benefits of an open-house style event:
We feel that an open house is the best way for citizens to get to interact with the subject experts. We brought more than two dozen subject experts whether they’re geologists, hydrologists, inspectors, legal staff—for people to ask their question. Typically in a public hearing, there is a presentation, there might be a question and answer period, people would give a statement, but there is really no direct interaction. [Here] it’s a question written on a comment card and it’s answered. So this, we felt was a much better way for people to get their questions answered—Bethany McCorkle, Chief of Communications, ODNR (:05)
ODNR’s event was a positive opportunity for citizens around Athens County to learn more about Class II injection wells, and submit comments for public record. With about 120 people in attendance and only 30 of those people entering the building with no intention of gaining knowledge on the subject, it’s clear there is a strong number of people in the Athens area eager to learn more about injection wells and the growing oil and gas industry in Ohio.