DATE: December 15, 2018
CONTACT: Becca Pollard, Co-Founder, Keep Wayne Wild
Recently the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the US Government both issued reports acknowledging what people all over the world already knew--urgent action is needed in order to prevent catastrophic climate change. Despite these reports, agencies and legislative bodies that claim to serve the public interest continue to support destructive fossil fuel development and deforestation. Earlier this week in an online auction the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) leased two parcels totaling 75.06 acres in Wayne National Forest, a second growth forest planted on land the US government obtained by means of treaties with Indigenous tribes that the US has violated. State legislators are now pushing anti-protest bill SB250, with the intent of preventing the people from standing in the way of fossil fuel development. Similar legislation in Louisiana was recently used to charge protesters with felonies for blocking construction of an un-permitted pipeline on private property where the protesters had the landowner's permission to be. SB250 passed the Senate last week and now goes on to the House. This Saturday, December 15th at 12:30pm people who love the forests and rivers we depend on, who fear not only for future generations, but for the lives already being devastated by the climate crisis, by the contaminated air and water the gas and oil industry produces, and by the corrupt and violent criminal justice system will gather in front of the ODNR office on Morse Rd. to rally for the future we want: a future of healthy old growth forests, clean water and air, and freedom to stand up and protect what we love without fear of incarceration and state sanctioned violence, which disproportionately targets Indigenous people and people of color.
"We urge ODNR to consider the consequences of granting drilling permits to gas and oil companies for fracking in natural areas like Wayne National Forest, which involves withdrawing millions of gallons of water from streams and rivers to be stored in injection wells after being mixed with toxic chemicals and radioactive materials, and threatens the health of the forest, which life depends of for clean air and carbon sequestration," said Becca Pollard, a founding member of Keep Wayne Wild from Columbus. "Granting more permits is clearly not in the public interest."
"It's critical to have natural, wild places. Everybody thrives better when forests are left to thrive. An anti-protest bill goes against our constituion and our freedom as Americans," said Bonie Bolen, a founding member of Keep Wayne Wild from Marietta.