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November 16, 1999

H.R. 2818 - Mosquito Creek Lake Drilling Prohibition Act
(Rep. Traficant (D) Ohio)

The Administration opposes H.R. 2818. The bill would prohibit all oil and gas drilling from under Mosquito Creek Lake in Trumbull County, Ohio, notwithstanding mitigation measures that would be implemented and which the Department of the Interior believes would ensure the environmental integrity of this project.

The development of federal mineral resources may be appropriate where mitigation measures can ensure the environmental integrity of federal lands. Interior has determined that oil and gas resources located under the lake can be developed through directional or "slant" drilling from adjacent private lands on which oil and gas drilling is already taking place. Interior has also determined that the surface and other subsurface resources can be protected through various mitigation measures -- including timing restrictions, baseline water quality testing requirements, setbacks from special status species habitat, and noise abatement requirements -- that have been successfully implemented at similar Corps projects in Illinois and Ohio. To ban all drilling from underneath the lake would ignore the balance between environmental integrity and resource development that can be achieved on this project.

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