COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Oil and gas companies can now request parcels of Ohio public land so it can be leased for oil and gas extractions.

The new law defines Ohio public land as including parks, forests, and wildlife areas.

Cathay Cowan Becker with Save Ohio Parks said she is worried about the environmental and health impacts.

“If you’re hiking or you’re trying to stargaze and just outside the park there are frack rigs that are flaring methane, that’s going to make it really hard for you to do what you came to that park to do and what all our citizens are paying to support,” Cowan Becker said.

Others said this could be a good thing for Ohio’s economy and could give money back to the state. Plus, Ohio Oil and Gas Association President Rob Brundrett said the process of drilling on public land is nothing new in Ohio and it won’t be disruptive because it happens underground.

“The drilling will all take place on private land off public property and then they’ll drill down very, very deep under the property so you don’t see any surface disruption,” Brundrett said.

Cowan Becker said oil and gas drilling can cause methane leaks which can contribute to global warming. She doesn’t want to see our parks and forests turn into fracking sites, even if the drilling happens underground.

“This is what we have in Ohio to go enjoy nature, see nature and acquaint kids with nature and it’s just not right to allow that to be degraded and polluted through fracking,” Cowan Becker said.

Brundrett reiterates that there will be no drilling on public land and said fracking is not dangerous.

“We believe it’s safe,” he said. “I think many studies will show you that it’s safe. Obviously we have 200,000 people in Ohio that work in the oil and gas industry. We want to make sure we’re protecting our employees as well. They have to live here and enjoy Ohio as well.”

For more information about oil and gas extractions, check out the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s webpage for the Division of Oil and Gas Resources.