President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants to open up federal lands for more oil and gas drilling. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports on how that might affect the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Right now, there are 91 wells within Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s 33,000 acres. Last fall, the rules governing those wells were overhauled to give the parks more control. Lisa Petit, head of resource management for the park, says she doesn’t foresee new wells being added in the next several years; instead the focus will be bringing the existing wells in-line with the new rules.
“That means that they will have to obtain permits, they will have to develop plans of operations. We will have the ability to charge fees for their operation.
“It doesn’t immediately stop any new oil and gas; it just means that they will have to come under these regulations. And it gives us, as a park, more control over how it happens, where it happens, and then it holds the operators far more responsible for the impacts of the operation on the resources.”
Petit says there are thousands of parcels of land in the park, and for each one, the land could be owned by one entity and the mineral rights by another.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park owns about a third of the land, with the rest either in private hands or owned by the Summit or Cleveland MetroParks.
The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park says the current number of wells in the park has not created any environmental problems, but they will be watching new developments closely to gauge their impact.