April 23, 2014

Mostly cloudy

Fracking opponents target Kasich’s State of State speech

Local and statewide environmental groups plan to demonstrate against fracking at Gov. John Kasich’s State of the State address Monday.

Members of Concerned Citizens of Medina County and Frack Free Ohio will gather at the main entrance of Medina High School about 5 p.m. Kasich is scheduled to give his speech at 7 p.m. in the adjacent Medina Performing Arts Center.

The group plans to state its opposition to Kasich’s policies on hydraulic fracturing, regulation of injection wells and proposed plans to put a gas pipeline through Medina County.

Environmental groups also are upset over reports made public Friday that top advisers to Kasich knew the Ohio Department of Natural Resources planned to discredit environmental groups and two lawmakers while promoting drilling in state parks and forests in 2012.

The Associated press reported a memo from ODNR from 2012 labeled groups like the Sierra Club and Ohio Environmental Council as adversaries and named Halliburton and other energy companies the department regulates as allies. The memo also labeled national, local and state chambers of commerce as allies.

The memo, written by a senior official at ODNR, called for the department to enlist the help of allied groups to counteract “zealous resistance by environmental activist opponents, who are skilled propagandists.”

The department said the plan only was discussed and never implemented. In 2011, a new state law opened state parks and other public lands to drilling.

But there are no wells yet. Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said the law called for a state oil and gas commission to be created before any drilling takes place.

Nichols said Kasich has opted not to appoint the panel yet because the governor doesn’t believe the regulatory structure around the practice is mature enough.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

  • Sandra Bilek

    Wow, I’ve read the whole memo. Unbelievable! The ODNR aligning themselves with the Industry they are supposed to be regulating? Governor Kasich and the ODNR targeting groups they fear will spread truth about how dangerous shale drilling is? If there was nothing to fear, why are the Governor and ODNR so fearful about the truth and forming a hit list? Well, the truth is there aplenty.
    Pennsylvania has wised up. Why is the Governor using Carroll and Columbiana
    Counties and other Counties south and east of Medina as guinea pigs, when in the Governor’s words, according to Nichols, “The Governor doesn’t believe the
    regulatory structure around the practice is mature enough?” Doesn’t this mean
    regulations haven’t been put in place to protect the public? And there is no
    one regulating the ODNR. The ODNR inspecting drilling and injection wells in a responsible fashion? Records prove otherwise. Kasich and ODNR are not acting on citizens’ behalf and are not protecting natural resources.

  • Mj Kohler

    Clearly the ODNR does not do anything that resembles “regulating” fracking in Ohio. They should be putting people’s health and safety first and serving the public. Far from it. Anyone who disagrees or questions their “fracking is safe” mantra is either a dangerous environmental fringe, in their opinion, or an ignorant public citizen who needs to be influenced. They have done nothing but pursue business interests without regard to what the public would consider safe.