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To Governor Kasich and Respected Leaders of the State of Ohio, On this momentous day, September 28th, 2013 as Ohio residents gather at the historic Malabar Farm State Park for the 37th Annual Heritage Days and the unveiling of the Big House renovations, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the true value of Malabar Farm and the invaluable lessons that Louis Bromfield taught us decades ago and that still hold true today. The $500,000 in improvements were announced late last fall and came with a promise not only for cosmetic improvements but also a return to “healthier soil and water, two things that Bromfield always strived to maintain on his farm,” according to Director Zehringer in a news report published last fall. Ohio soil and water is under siege and gravely threatened by the introduction of flowback waste created by the process of hydraulic fracturing in the attempt to extract fossil fuel resources from deep shale deposits. Last year in Ohio, almost 600,000 gallons of toxic, radioactive liquid waste was injected into Ohio soil via Class 2 Injection wells. Approximately 60 percent of this fracking flowback waste came from outside Ohio. Many of these Class 2 wells are converted Clinton Sandstone extraction wells constructed before new regulations were put in place and are not designed to accommodate the higher volumes and concentrated levels of hazardous chemicals found in today's unconventional method of horizontal drilling. One of the difficulties that Ohio residents face in this onslaught of hazardous material is the inability to have local decision making in the testing, placement or oversight of these wells. Last year the City of Mansfield (in Richland County), drafted an Environmental Bill of Rights, based on the Ohio Constitution, that was voted in by over 65 percent of voters in the fall of 2012, through a charter amendment. The Bill of Rights effectively stopped construction of two high volume, high pressure Class 2 injection wells destined to be built inside the city limits, on the north side of the city. There would have been no financial benefit to the city and it would have created no more than two or three full time, low paying jobs. The charter amendment was put in place to protect our city's residents, businesses and basic natural resources from eventual harm and empowered city government to adopt two other pieces of legislation to further ensure Mansfield would not become a waste disposal site. These injection facilities would have been very similar to the one that caused over one hundred earthquakes in the Youngstown area in 2011. Every county and community in Ohio could be the target for toxic fracking waste injection and disposal. The Mohican Valley area is not exempt. The people living in Richland and surrounding counties place a high economical, historical and environmental value on Malabar Farm State Park, The Mohican State Forest and Pleasant Hill Reservoir, which are all closely interconnected in southern Richland County. We rely on these beautiful places for economic sustainability, job security, resource management, outdoor recreation such as hunting, camping, canoeing, hiking and cycling, wildlife observation and study and also relaxation. Class 2 injection wells and other forms of waste generated by the hydraulic fracturing process threaten this beauty and security, not only because of the possibility of future waste disposal in the valley, or in Richland County, but due to the fact that our natural water system is so interconnected that any contamination of ground or subsurface aquifers will eventually travel downstream and impact areas that are not located directly near a disposal sight. So, what is the solution? Is it appropriate to ask the question today, “What would Louis Bromfield do?” We cannot do that directly but we can begin to see a vision from a quote taken from one of Mr. Bromfield's books, “A Primer of Conservation” written in 1942- “This other war, the war upon destruction of natural assets is one that will never be finished. Our weakness in this vast war is largely ignorance, that most of our citizens do not realize what is going on under their very feet.” Local governments, funded organizations and volunteer groups all over Ohio are taking up the call to ban Class 2 injection wells in Ohio. Legislation has been introduced in both the House (HB #148) and Senate (SB # 178) this past year that would ban fracking waste in Ohio, both in-state and out-of-state. This legislation does not appear to violate the interstate commerce clause, which is cited as one reason for allowing this waste to be brought in in the first place. One rationale on why Ohio residents are taking this stance is the reasonable position that industry generated pollution created in other geographic areas should be disposed of in those same locations where the waste is created. And does it need to be created at all? There are many industry claims that there are safer and more environmentally friendly ways of fracturing the shale that do not create millions of gallons of waste. The industry chooses the cheapest and most profitable method of disposal because we have made it convenient for them to do so here in Ohio. ODNR received approximately $1.8 million for permitting this waste to be injected into our subsurface at almost 200 locations around the state. Our local communities receive none of these funds, yet carry the burden and risks these injection wells pose to our families, our property and our environment. We do not want beautiful and resource-rich Ohio to be seen as a quick and easy way to dump hazardous material that future generations will be dealing with for centuries. There is no way to “un-inject” the land beneath our feet, so it must be stopped before entering our communities and natural areas. Again, from Mr. Bromfield- “It is the duty of every citizen, for his own welfare, if for no other patriotic reason, to support and fight for and possibly initiate measures having to do with conservation of soil, water and forests.” We recognize your positions in our governmental structure and recognize that there are actions within your power to alleviate the threat to our security, health and welfare posed by toxic oil and gas field waste. Governor Kasich, we ask that you consider signing an executive order banning all Class 2 injection wells today or as soon as you return to Columbus and urge Director Zehringer, Representative Romanchuk and Senator Obhof to show united support for an order to eliminate this extremely toxic threat to Richland County and the rest of Ohio, just as willingly as you show support for wonderful events such as Heritage Days and historic places like Malabar Farm, Louis Bromfield's gem and one of Ohio's greatest sustainable assets and tourist attractions. We believe in the democratic process, in the voice of the people and to our rights guaranteed in the Ohio Constitution to fresh water, clean air, fertile soil and peaceful enjoyment of home. We have faith that the elected and appointed members of this great state have the ability to work together, in a non-partisan manner for the common good of all Ohioans. And to be visionary and resourceful like Mr. Bromfield, to be individualistic in thought but united in purpose and open-minded to what long term sustainable successes we could achieve. In closing, from Louis Bromfield's wisdom, to commemorate the day and to lead us forward- “Our prosperity, our high standard of living, our very liberties will disappear as they have disappeared in other countries all over the world when soil was washed away and there was no longer any adequate supply of water. The hour is already much later than we think.” Sincerely, Bill Baker, organizer Frack Free Ohio