The directors of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources along with Senator George Voinovich recommended that Governor Bob Taft consider banning oil and natural gas drilling in the state waters of Lake Erie. The Ohio Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has been lobbying for a permanent ban on drilling beneath the Ohio side of Lake Erie and believes it has gained an important ally in the fight: Governor Bob Taft.
Ohio PIRG along with other Ohio environmental groups argue that an Ohio moratorium is necessary because the environmental and economic risks of drilling for natural gas far outweigh the benefits. Ohio consumes a trillion cubic feet of natural gas each year, but Lake Erie can produce only 20 billion square feet annually. Consequently, Lake Erie would only produce eight days of natural gas for Ohioans per year. Drilling beneath the Lake is made even riskier because of toxic wastes such as lead, mercury, and chromium that can be stirred up during production activities from where they have settled at the bottom of the lake.
Governor Taft has announced that he will issue an executive order to prevent drilling under Lake Erie. If the governor issues such an order, Ohio would become the second Great Lakes state with such a ban. Michigan has a ban, effective April 5, 2002, prohibiting future leases for the purpose of directional drilling under the Great Lakes.