Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The Columbus Dispatch, Feb. 24
State officials charged with protecting Ohio's environment should take steps to ensure that the water left over from hydraulic fracturing doesn't pollute streams, lakes or groundwater.
Because fracking of shale for oil and gas is a relatively new and fast-growing industry in Ohio, that means building from scratch a system to keep track of the companies that recycled fracking waste. This includes how many are operating, how much waste they handle and what they do with it. At the same time, more research is needed so that policymakers know more about the dangers posed by the wastewater and chemicals in it.
Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget includes a good start: a provision banning disposal of treated waste from oil and gas wells into lakes, streams or groundwater....
ODNR supports the water-dumping ban in Kasich's budget, and also is using a $49,000 state grant ... to study and identify the best-available technologies and practices for recycling of fracking waste.
That might be only a modest start to the information Ohio needs to make sure the fracking boom remains a turbo-charged boost to the state's economy, without fouling its waters. Helping identify a safe and effective method for recycling fracking wastewater would be a valuable accomplishment.
The Marietta Times, Feb. 25
Drug distributors are making money off area residents through the sale of so-called bath salts and a family of products called K2, which contain an array of chemicals.
If you think the bath salts problem in the area was under control, think again. If you think the problem was solved because a highly visible store was shut down or state law was changed to shutdown legal sales, think again.
Purveyors of these evil substances stay one step ahead of the law by tweaking the bath salts' formulas. Sales remain legal, technically speaking. Law enforcement officials say they need help in their push against K2 (often described as synthetic marijuana) and bath salts (which pack a punch like cocaine and methamphetamines). Manufacturers stay legal by altering their formulas just enough to remain legal....
This must stop now.
Sure, laws must be changed so those investigating incidents aren't thwarted because the formula of an offending substance has been altered slightly.
But even more important to the situation is the personal responsibility each and every one of us must take for our own actions. Don't rationalize using bath salts or K2 by saying they aren't illegal. Bottom line, they are dangerous. Don't use them. Removing the profit motive is vital because making a buck is all sellers are interested in doing. Until potential buyers wise up and stop spending their money, because someone somewhere will always be glad to sell their K2 or bath salts.
The Ironton Tribune, Feb. 24
Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget is certainly a mixed bag of innovative ideas to help move Ohio forward and proposals that simply miss the mark badly.
But the component that the governor is catching the most heat over from his own party — Medicaid expansion — simply makes sense and will eventually help improve the lives of more than at least 300,000 Ohioans, and likely many more.
We applaud the governor for not getting hung up on the politics of the proposal as many of his fellow Republicans have done.
The argument against the expansion is that it endorses the Affordable Care Act.
The expansion simply operates under the current system — regardless of how we feel about "Obamacare" as individuals — to provide coverage for hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged citizens who are slipping through the cracks right now....
No one knows what the future holds but the program will move forward whether Ohio participates or not.
The expansion will likely save the state more than $1 billion a year in care for the uninsured and use the federal funding to create thousands of health care jobs.
It simply makes sense to expand the program that will benefit so many.
This doesn't mean that Medicaid couldn't benefit from some reforms but refusing to participate in the expansion would be like the old cliche of cutting off your nose to spite your face....
But Medicaid expansion is one area where the governor got it right.
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Feb. 24
Over the past six years, Ford's Engine Plant No. 1 in Brook Park has held a mirror to the health of the domestic auto industry.
In 2007, with Ford hemorrhaging cash, company executives announced they were "temporarily" closing the factory while the company worked through its inventory of engines. The shutdown lasted almost two years while Ford put itself through a painful restructuring and re-imagining of its product lines and strategy — and the entire American auto sector suffered a near-death experience.
Last week, Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford's American operations and the man who brought bad news to Brook Park six years ago, was back to announce that the company was bringing work from Europe to suburban Cleveland. Engine Plant No. 1, which reopened in 2009 with a single shift, will soon add 450 employees to the 1,065 working there now. The number could grow even more because the plant will be making the 2-liter EcoBoost engine, a fuel-efficient model the revitalized company deems absolutely critical to future competitiveness.
In a very different era, Ford employed 16,000 in its Brook Park complex. Those days are long gone. But the rebirth of Engine Plant No. 1 — thanks in no small measure to the sacrifices of its United Auto Workers members — is evidence that American manufacturing can compete and succeed in the global marketplace.