The Rundown

Foodbanks around Ohio, a huge methane leak from fracking, and felons buying guns

By: - December 18, 2019 11:53 am

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Catching our eye:

Warms my heart. There’s more to do. That Joe Burrow-inspired fundraiser for the Athens County Food Pantry was up to nearly $437,000 as of 2 p.m. Tuesday. I wanted to take this opportunity to point out another fundraiser that would help folks in Southeast Ohio struggling with hunger: The Nelsonville Community Dinner. This is a regular community-building and food insecurity-combating event that also deserves our attention as they search for a new home.

As I noted in my column, Southeast Ohio isn’t the only area of the state struggling with poverty and hunger. This is a problem everywhere. The Ohio Association of Foodbanks has this list of area foodbanks around the state.

Hot air. The Washington Post’s Steve Mufson is reporting, “scientists have confirmed that a 2018 blowout turned a natural gas well in eastern Ohio into a ‘super-emitter,’ leaking more methane in 20 days than all but three European nations emit over an entire year…

“The blowout in rural Ohio took place Feb. 15, 2018, at a well owned by XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, and it took 20 days to get it under control. The well had been “fracked,” or hydraulically fractured, before the blowout took place…

“(L)eaks of methane throughout the production system can undercut the advantage of natural gas and can drive emissions back up to dangerous levels. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, up to 25 times as potent, pound for pound, as carbon dioxide, according to EPA estimates.”

Armed felons. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jessie Balmert is reporting, “As a result of Ohio’s broken background check system, a convicted felon prohibited from owning a firearm could purchase one after passing a background check – all because some courts or local law enforcement agencies failed to upload paperwork in a timely manner…

“A new review from Ohio Auditor Keith Faber found 48 of Ohio’s 88 counties had at least one court or law enforcement department that didn’t report records on time or in a few cases, at all.”

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David DeWitt
David DeWitt

OCJ Editor-in-Chief and Columnist David DeWitt has been covering government, politics, and policy in Ohio since 2007, including education, health care, crime and courts, poverty, state and local government, business, labor, energy, environment, and social issues. He has worked for the National Journal, The New York Observer, The Athens NEWS, and He holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and is a board member of the E.W. Scripps Society of Alumni and Friends. He can be found on Twitter @DC_DeWitt