New Evidence Exposes Gov. Kasich's Role in PR Plan to Promote Fracking in State Parks
As reported Sunday, new evidence was released today showing Ohio Gov. Kasich's involvement in the communications plan that detailed how the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) would “marginalize” opponents of fracking by teaming up with “allied” corporations—including Halliburton, business groups and media outlets—to promote this controversial drilling technique in state parks.
Among the Kasich staff invited to the meeting were: Gov. Kasich Communication Director Scott Milburn, Chief of Staff Beth Hansen, Senior Advisor Jai Chabria, former Director of Legislative Affairs Matt Carle (now Gov. Kasich’s campaign manager) and former Policy Advisor Craig Butler (now Kasich’s Ohio Environmental Protection Agency director).
“It is simply astonishing that the agency tasked with protecting the environment would see Halliburton as a friend and the Sierra Club as an enemy,” said Deb Nardone, director of the Sierra Club Beyond Natural Gas Campaign. “It’s shocking to see an orchestrated PR hit job in black and white.”
The communications plan refers to stakeholders and key influencers, and refers to adversarial opinion leaders as “‘eco-left’ pressure groups” and goes on to say, “opponents will attempt to create public panic about perceived health risks” and “opponents’ proxies in the media will slant news coverage against us.”
One of the communication objectives in the document states, “Marginalize the effectiveness of communications by adversaries about the initiative.”
The document lists the following as opposition groups and forums:
- The Sierra Club
- The Ohio Environmental Council
- Rep. Robert Hagan
- Rep. Nickie Antonio
- WaterKeeper Alliance
- OMB Watch
- Marcellus Earth First
- Marcellus Shale Protest
- The Natural Resource Defense Council
The document lists the following as allied groups and forums:
- Natural Resources Advisory Board
- Chambers of Commerce, including Ohio, Canton, Cambridge and U.S Chamber
- Ohio Oil and Gas Association
- America’s Natural Gas Alliance/Regina Hopper
"Our state government should not be frittering valuable time and taxpayer money on a PR campaign designed to 'neutralize' legitimate concerns about impacts to public lands and public health and safety from fracking in our state parks and forests," said Nathan Johnson, staff attorney for the Ohio Environmental Council, one of the groups listed in the document.
"The ODNR should be an impartial watchdog, not an industry cheerleader. It's shocking to learn that ODNR laid plans to actively enlist the help of extractive industries to 'marginalize' respected voices for the preservation of our natural heritage.
"The public would be better served if ODNR focused its public relations efforts, instead, on more constructive efforts. They could start by helping the public understand the basic link between the rate of taxation on oil and gas production and funding for more adequate state oversight and enforcement of oil and gas regulations.
"It is interesting to note that the communication plan listed 'disseminate videos about inspections' to help garner favor for public lands drilling. This is hardly a selling-point, however. An analysis of ODNR records reveal that only 1 in 10 active oil and gas wells in Ohio were inspected by ODNR officials in 2010," Johnson concluded.
The ODNR goes as far as saying in the PR document that “this initiative could blur public perception of ODNR’s regulatory role in oil and gas,” and will require “precise messaging and coordination” to eliminate confusion.
“There are valid concerns about fracking, which the plan seems to disregard," said Katherine McFate, president and CEO of the Center for Effective Government, which operates OMB Watch, one of the groups targeted in the plan.
"A recent Associated Press investigation found documented cases of water contamination from fracking in Ohio, and other studies have shown a link between earthquakes and the drilling practice, including one in Youngstown in late 2011. The Ohio DNR should be spending its time and resources wisely, protecting citizens from real harm rather than denying known risks."
A second press event will take place at the Ohio Statehouse tomorrow where Representatives Hagan and Antonio will discuss how the Kasich administration’s cozy relationship with the oil and gas industry is putting corporate interests over the public concerns of safety and job opportunities with regard to fracking in state parks.
“As a state legislator, it is my duty to advocate for the safety and health of our constituents and to respond to their concerns by raising questions and demanding answers,” Rep. Hagan said.
“The oil and gas industry would love nothing more than to sweep those concerns under the rug, and it appears that they have enthusiastic partners in Governor Kasich and the ODNR.”
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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