Appalachian Basin

Ohio Law Enforcement Monitoring Extreme Environmental Groups

Extreme environmental activist groups have been put on notice by Ohio’s law enforcement, due primarily to the activities of outside organizations coming into Ohio to disrupt oil and gas development.  Authorities like the Ohio State Highway Patrol have begun to acknowledge that these groups’ actions are a threat to human health and safety, and as such are working to ensure they pose no threat to workers or the public in general.

As we first reported in the fall, Earth First! Climber’s Guild held a retreat near Athens, Ohio in order to train extreme activists with the climbing skills needed to temporarily disrupt oil and gas activities in Ohio, much like we saw earlier this month in New Matamoras.  In the beginning, these exercises were little more than a stunt; we never figured they would actually carry out these sorts of activities in Ohio, a state where we have developed oil and gas for over 150 years.  But it wasn’t until a few weeks ago when these groups put their practice into illegal action. Even more disturbing: we found out that Ohio is not isolated from these fringe groups infiltrating states in order to disrupt safety protocol, not to mention jobs and prosperity.

Earth First! and Appalachian Resist staged a dangerous display of activism a month ago in New Matamoras at a GreenHunter Class II storage site.  The event brought out 100 activists dressed in Hazmat suits to demonstrate against the facility, all while a fellow member constructed a pole tied to equipment on site.  In the end, they disrupted business activities for five hours and had 10 people arrested. Seven of them were from out of state.

Now that these groups have put their teaching into actions, they have not only gained attention from those working in the field, but also law enforcement. For example, Sgt. Greg McCutcheon with the Ohio State Highway Patrol recently said: “These are fringe groups and our Central Intelligence Unit is monitoring them.” That’s reassuring, to say the least.

Of course, this illegal act in New Matamoras is just the first in attempts to disrupt oil and gas development in Ohio.  While this particular attempt was not violent, the authorities are not taking these actions lightly, and rightfully so. As Sgt. McCutcheon added:

“We have no reports of any violence so far but it is probably coming. We are asking that everyone be alert and aware and report anyone out of place at your facility.”

McCutcheon is referring to incidents in Pennsylvania, where residents have experienced a drive-by shooting at a well site, as well as an incident where a homemade explosive device was placed near a pipeline.

As these reckless attempts are being planned in the future, the extreme environmentalists should know they have been put on notice and their actions will not be tolerated in Ohio.  Luckily we have state agencies taking these actions seriously and are asking those in the community to report any suspicious activity they see in the area.

To be clear, we at EID support and encourage a healthy public discussion about energy production, and we recognize that there are groups who oppose oil and gas development for a variety of reasons. Thankfully, most of these groups are also committed to civility and adherence to the law. In that sense, it’s tragic that a minority of activists think endangering public safety is the best way to advance their ideological cause. These sorts of activities are illegal, dangerous to the general public, and should be discouraged by all who are interested in a fact-based dialogue about oil and gas development in Ohio — or anywhere else, for that matter.

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  • concernedcitizen
    Posted at 6:12 pm, March 27, 2013 Reply

    i am wondering why it is relevant what a member of the state highway patrol’s opinion is cited here,
    maybe i am ignorant as to what sgt greg mccutcheon’s position is

    also i think it is odd you seem to only portray and describe environmental groups as “fringe” and use words like “infiltration”.

    can you please cite where/ when incident of a “drive by shooting” occured specifically

    can you please cite where/when an incident of a “homemade explosive device” was placed near a pipeline?

    you seem to be making the case anyone group percieved to be environmentally concerned is responsible for such activities.
    is this summary of your allegations correct?

    Would you mind citing which groups do you believe to be engaged in “commitment to civility and adherence to the law?”

    • Shawn
      Posted at 2:10 pm, March 28, 2013 Reply

      Thank you for reading our site. I am not sure what you mean. It is relevant because the he reported the Central Intelligence Unit is monitoring these groups. They tend not to monitor groups that are not nefarious.

      Also I think you misread my post. I never intended to refer to all environmental groups as fringe. There are though fringe environmental groups out there. They are such groups that may tend to use violence or vandalism. These fringe groups include Earth First and ELF to name a couple. These groups do not include concerned citizens groups or legitimate environmental groups.

      In terms of your question about citing where there was a homemade explosive and a drive by shooting, please follow my hyperlinks that I included in my post. They will lead you to the articles on these incidents happening. Both articles are from this year and were in the newspapers in Pennsylvania.

      I hope this answers all of your questions.

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