Appalachian Basin

Beware of the Ides of March: The Politics Of Distraction

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Facts, however, are much less flexible. Across Ohio, an open conversation is taking place on the incredible opportunity Utica Shale development will bring all Ohioans. Understandably, there are folks who have concerns with this development. We know this is the case as the EID-Ohio team has traveled far & wide having conversations and presenting clear-cut facts with concerned citizens in communities throughout the Buckeye State.

Unfortunately, we  have also spent a lot of time clarifying the “untruths” coming from those who oppose  responsible energy development. Those who fall into this category – though the small minority here in the heartland – have been working hard to spread fear and confusion with anti-industry propaganda.

We’ve seen it from activist groups

protestors (fast forward to 1:09)…


elected officials

…and, from time to time, the media.

Sometimes, in discussing oil and gas development, process and practice can be misunderstood. That’s understandable. It is, after all, a very technical process, one requiring over 75 different professions from start to finish. That’s why Energy in Depth – Ohio is here.

Blatant and deliberate misinformation and downright untruths are less understandable. This came to mind as I left a meeting earlier this week in Windsor, a tight-knit community in Ashtabula County. Sponsored by the Ashtabula – Geauga – Lake Farmers Union, the gathering was organized as an “educational meeting” on hydraulic fracturing. It was advertised with a post card that read: “Learn about the two fracking waste water injection wells in Windsor.”  That postcard was mailed to over 500 residents in the town.  However, the person who owns and operates both the class II injection wells, and lives on the very same property as the wells, was not invited.

At no point in the “educational meeting” did anyone mention the operator of those wells, which were not hydraulically fractured, resided on the property. Nor was it mentioned that the wells have been in place since the 1980’s without any incident. With about 100 people in attendance, Mr. Joe Logan of the Ohio Environmental Council used the entire meeting to pitch the Ohio Farmers Union.  His proposal basically boiled down to this statement-  if you join the Ohio Farmers Union we, as the Ohio Farmers Union, can march down to the statehouse and put an end to oil and gas development in Ohio.

So what was billed as an informational session about class II injection wells was more of a “join our club”  sales pitch. It even included a giveaway of an Ohio Farmers Union tote bag. We all like giveaways but if someone attending this meeting was truly looking for information they left empty handed.  This type of behavior stands in the way of progress, investment and jobs provided by safe & responsible energy development.

But it’s not just happening here. I recently came across an article from our neighbors in Pennsylvania. Here, the reporter calls out an activist group for an incredible string of untruths and misrepresentations in order to garner support for their lonely cause.  In this instance it was a fake photo on a report.  In previous instances it was a fake photo of a flooded natural gas rig which the group claimed was impacted by the historic flooding that occurred in Pennsylvania last year.

Although, these actions are predictable. When you don’t have history, science, engineering, facts or reality on your side you are left with only a couple of simple plays in the game. Except this is not a game. This is a conversation about energy, jobs and peoples lives and livelihoods.

This misrepresentation of fact is not always as easy to recognize after all that’s why its called the politics of distraction. So when it comes to seeking out information on energy developmentremain vigilant Ohio and stay tuned to Energy in Depth – Ohio for the straight talk on our energy future.

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