Governor Kasich’s administration met with the Ohio regulatory agency that is paid to regulate oil and gas to outline how to promote an industry plan to drill in state parks and also target critics of their plan to drill in state parks.
Then they all lied about it:
On Friday, Gov. John Kasich’s spokesman said the governor’s office knew nothing about an August 2012 state marketing plan for fracking in state parks and forests.
But after an email about the plan involving most of Kasich’s top officials was disclosed yesterday, spokesman Rob Nichols said: “Of course, the administration is going to coordinate and plan ahead on an important issue like gas production on state land.”
The turnaround came after an email became public. It was from Kasich senior adviser Wayne Struble, who sought a meeting about the public-relations campaign with top Kasich officials. Those invited included Beth Hansen, the governor’s chief of staff; Scott Milburn, top communications manager; Matt Carle, his legislative liaison (who is now his re-election campaign manager); Jai Chabria, a senior adviser; Tracy Intihar, who was cabinet secretary at the time; Craig Butler, a policy adviser who is now head of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency; and leaders of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Nichols told The Dispatch on Friday night that the governor’s office had no knowledge of the marketing plan because it had never left the Natural Resources department.
“Clearly, that’s not the case,” Brian Rothenberg, head of the liberal nonprofit organization ProgressOhio, said in a news conference yesterday in which the email was divulged. “The fact that people at the highest level of the governor’s office were involved in this is pretty unsavory.”
Brian Kunkemoeller, conservation-program coordinator with the Sierra Club’s Ohio chapter — which obtained the material through a public-records request — said, “This is not only a sad day for our parks and forests, it’s also a sad day for our democracy.”
Rothenberg and Kunkemoeller expressed outrage that a state agency given the statutory duty to regulate the oil and gas industry actually was partnering with the industry to promote it.
We’re paying every single person who was sitting at that meeting. Industry interests don’t even bother hiring lobbyists anymore. It’s much cheaper to just buy the governor and the regulators outright, and have the public pick up the tab for their continued employment.
The memo itself recognized that the public-relations initiative “could blur public perception of ODNR’s regulatory role in oil and gas.”
“Blur”? The regulator is completely captured by the industry they’re supposed to be regulating. That’s what the memo shows, and that’s why they all lied about who was at the meeting.
Watching how West Virginia water was poisoned the last couple of weeks, it occurred to me that our elected leaders are so captured, so completely corrupt and compromised, that they cannot even protect basic public health. They can’t fulfill even that bedrock governmental duty. The best they can do is advise pregnant women not to drink the water. Let the buyer beware on drinking water. That’s their role, I guess. They’re advisors to us, the consumers.
I’m disappointed that just two state lawmakers were targeted by the oil and gas industry representatives currently working for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. That’s two that aren’t captured, I guess.
Rep. Robert Hagan
Rep. Nickie Antonio