ODNR Ticks Off Anti-Drilling Sierra Club with Drilling PR Plan

memoIn August of 2012 staffers at the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) made a boo-boo. They put into writing (in the form of a 13-page memo, embedded below) a draft plan to promote Utica Shale drilling under (not on) Sunfish Creek State Forest (in Monroe County), under (not on) Barkcamp State Park (in Belmont County), and under (not on) Wolf Run State Park (Noble County). The memo begins by saying there will be a communications problem to solve: “An initiative to proactively open state park and forest land to horizontal drilling/hydraulic fracturing will be met with zealous resistance by environmental activist opponents, who are skilled propagandists. Neutral parties┬áin particular — such as ordinary citizens concerned about their families’ health — will be vulnerable to messaging by opponents that the initiative represents dangerous and radical state policy by Gov. Kasich.” (emphasis original) The memo states later on that, “Anti-fracking activists will attempt to legally and physically disrupt or halt the drilling projects, including staging dangerous protests on state lands. (This will require sustained legal countermeasures and crisis readiness by ODNR.)”

May we translate? Groups like the Sierra Club lie to people about the drilling issue–and they sometimes engage in bullying (and violent) behavior. Of course the Sierra Club liars are just a bit miffed at being called out as liars and bullies–by no less than a state agency charged with regulating oil and gas. So they are on the offensive. The first thing the Sierra Club and similar groups will do (are doing) is to get their buddies in the slavishly devoted mainstream media to pick up their “ODNR are scumbags” meme and run with it. The second thing is they will use the ODNR memo in fundraising letters, which is really what the shale drilling issue is for them–a big, fat fundraiser…

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