by Kyle Swenson
You can really size up the state’s budget woes when the bureaucrats start considering drilling in the state parks, a cash grab that really gets a lot of brows furrowed. But, hey, it’s 2011 and China and Oprah are the only ones not leaning on the McDonald’s $1 menu to get through till next pay day.
The Columbus Dispatch today reports that new Gov. Kasich’s new head of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources would consider selling off protected park space in order to get some money in the state’s coffers.
"It's something we would consider and review," David Mustine (no, not this guy, unfortunately, we got excited there for a minute, too) told the Dispatch. "At this point, we don't want to close out any option."
The state’s parks currently need around $560 million is repairs. Park drilling could drop as much as $30 million a year into the state lap, according to proponents of the idea. Of course, Mustine opposite-aisle predecessor Sean Logan was critical of the idea in 2009, and a lot of other people aren’t keen on seeing the state’s green space as needle-marked as a junkie’s forearm.
Oilmen types have their eyes on the state because of what’s hidden beneath. Utica shale, thousands of feet below the surface, now can be tapped using new techniques. Ohio, it just so happens, has some of this stuff. The shale could be hit up for oil and natural gas.
Good to point out here that Mustine once captained the ship of a Middle East oil company, so drilling is already in his utility belt, ready for the quick draw.