I am involved in endeavors to prohibit hydrofracking in New York, and it should be prohibited in Ohio, too.
Hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, is a high-volume, horizontal drilling technique for gathering natural gas that sometimes produces toxic byproducts that are hazardous to people, animals, and our drinking water. Hydrofracking has wreaked havoc in Pennsylvania.
In December, New York's outgoing governor declared a moratorium on hydrofracking for at least six months. But Ohio's new governor supports such drilling in some areas of Ohio.
Environmental responsibility should be a priority in Ohio. Besides hydrofracking, another issue needs closer scrutiny. Unlike in Canada, there are far too few restrictions in Ohio and in other states on the widespread use of chemical lawn weedkillers, even though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns such usage "is both a major environmental problem and a public health issue." Lawn herbicides have been linked to cancer, Parkinson's Disease, reproductive, respiratory and skin disorders in humans, and can poison animals, and pollute our air and drinking water.
New York has begun to address these problems by enacting legislation which provides that "no school or day care center shall apply pesticide to any playground, turf, athletic or playing fields, except that an emergency application of a pesticide may be made as determined by the county health department." Too many dandelions or other harmless weeds would not be regarded as an emergency.
Recently, in recognition of lawn chemicals' hazards to people, animals, and our environment, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation launched a Be Green program to educate and license lawn care companies to provide services free of pesticides, including herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers (www.dec.ny.gov/public/65071.html). To safely care for your lawns and gardens, visit www.dec.ny.gov/public/52570.html.
This information is useful to people in Ohio, too, and I hope many of your readers will visit the above sites, as well as www.beyondpesticides.org.
Those who promote protection of our environment convey an important message that should not be ignored, especially not ignored by elected officials who are entrusted to safeguard our well-being.
Joel D. Freedman lives in Canandaigua, N.Y. He chairs the public education committee of Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate New York.