NEOGAP: Network for Oil and Gas Accountability and Protection
Mission Statement: NEOGAP is organized to educate, empower, and advocate for the citizens of Ohio who are facing threats to health, safety, and property rights posed by oil and gas development.
Vision Statement: We envision Ohio as a place where property rights and local control are fully respected; where oil and gas development throughout the state occurs using only methods that protect water, air, soil quality, and human health and safety; and where laws and regulations support this vision.
Background: In 2008, NEOGAP was organized as the Northeast Ohio Gas Accountability Project by concerned citizens from a number of communities in Northeast Ohio. The founding members came together to work to address the problems created by gas drilling operations in our neighborhoods from 2006 to present.
Additionally, NEOGAP affiliated with OGAP, the Oil and Gas Accountability Project, a national organization that had been dealing with oil and gas drilling issues for sixteen years, mostly in western states. We also soon developed a partnership with MIT in putting together and testing an interactive landmen reporting website.
Since our founding, we have worked with aggrieved property owners, mayors, city councils, township trustees, fire departments, and many others in confronting numerous problems:
- Oil and gas drilling in densely populated urban and suburban areas.
- The loss of local authority, zoning, over the locating of oil and gas wells, an authority that the State of Ohio claims it had revoked in 2004. (This assertion, we believe, is open to legal challenge.)
- Property owners whom we believe have been denied due process of law, resulting from the mandatory pooling provision in Ohio law, which has forced some landowners into drilling units against their will.
In 2009, working with members of the Ohio General Assembly, NEOGAP wrote comprehensive reform of Ohio Oil and Gas Drilling Law (ORC 1509). It was introduced into the Senate as SB 196 with the sponsorship of State Senator Tim Grendell (R), District 18 and in the House with the sponsorship of Representative Mike Skindell (D), District 23. Unfortunately, because of powerful oil and gas lobbying, SB 196 was buried in Committee, and an industry-sponsored bill, SB 165, was adopted as a purported “reform” law. In actuality, the new law made only a few improvements in Ohio’s Oil and Gas Law, leaving Ohioans still very exposed to many health and safety hazards posed by oil and gas drilling.
In 2010, NEOGAP became aware that Ohio was facing a new threat—unconventional oil and gas drilling in deep Marcellus and Utica shale using slick water, high volume, hydraulic fracturing. The practice has been occurring in Pennsylvania and West Virginia since about 2008, and those states were beginning to experiences serious environmental adverse effects. It also became clear that Ohio was next on the list for this kind of oil/gas exploitation. We saw a tremendous uptick in lease acquisition by such large shale exploiters as Chesapeake Energy, with the primary play of interest being Ohio’s Utica shale formation.
Facing these increasing threats, NEOGAP decided to alter its name. While the acronym NEOGAP remains the same, it now stands for “Network for Oil & Gas Accountability and Protection.”
In 2011, we adopted new bylaws and elected a new Board of Trustees. We are incorporated in the State of Ohio as a non-profit organization.