TOLEDO — In a September 17 letter, Toledo attorney Terry Lodge asked Thomas Bostick, Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in Washington, D.C. to begin an inquiry into correspondence between the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Huntington, West Virginia. Lodge wrote on behalf of the Southeast Ohio Alliance to Save Our Water, property owners Steven Jansto and Leatra Harper, Buckeye Forest Council and Food and Water Watch.
According to the letter –
It is very important that federal statutory and regulatory requirements be closely followed respecting the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District’s proposal to undertake the gross sales of hundreds of millions of gallons of water. The water is stored in Corps-built lakes for a variety of public uses. Its permanent removal appears about to be approved, in the form of for-profit sales by the [Conservancy District], to oil and gas drilling firms to enable hydraulic fracturing of eastern Ohio shale for natural gas, without area property owner knowledge or consent. Much of that water will be permanently removed from the ecosystem and thence lost to public use and to the hydrologic cycle for long-term environmental sustainability.
The interactions of the Huntington WV [Army Corps of Engineers] office and the [Conservancy District] staff are laid out in documents released to us under the Freedom of Information Act and Ohio Open Records Act. These suggest that the ACE Huntington WV office is participating in actions that are contrary to the Corps’ original mission for conservation and flood control.
— Paul Ryder, Assistant Director, Ohio Citizen Action