Ohio plan: Counter ‘eco-left’ drilling opposition


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio regulators in 2012 laid out
plans to counter environmental groups and lawmakers opposed to drilling
in state parks and forests and looked for support from energy companies
and trade associations, which it labeled as allies, according to a copy
of a strategy plan released by the state Friday.
The proposed
communication plan anticipated that the "eco-left" would try to slant
news coverage, incite public panic over health risks and physically halt
drilling, according to the plan contained in a document released to The
Associated Press.
The agency never followed through with the
strategy, Mark Bruce, a spokesman for the Department of Natural
Resources, said Friday.
"This was a draft that was used for
internal discussions and deliberation," Bruce said. "It is not policy
and it was never adopted as policy. It was used for discussion and that
was that."
The plan would have sought to generate support from
"allied groups" that included Halliburton, state, national and local
chambers of commerce, and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association to "minimize"
the impact of environmentalists and Democratic state lawmakers.
2011 law opened up state parks and other lands in Ohio to oil and gas
drilling. The state has seen a surge of drilling in eastern counties as
technology makes it easier to reach oil and gas trapped in shale
"When you have the regulator working with those they
regulate to silence the voices of those organizations trying to protect
the environment, you’ve got a warped situation," said ProgressOhio
executive director Brian Rothenberg. "This isn’t how government’s
supposed to work. It’s Nixonian."
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