COLUMBUS, OH — An investigation by The Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com revealed that dozens of Ohioans — including a 9-year-old girl — believe their names and personal information were used without their permission in public comments that falsely claimed they want fracking in Ohio’s state parks.
The Ohio Environmental Council and Save Ohio Parks are calling on the Oil and Gas Land Management Commission to remove the comments in question from all leasing nominations and pause decision-making on all leasing nominations containing allegedly fake public comments until the public record is accurate.
In response to the story, the following quote can be attributed, in whole or in part, to Roxanne Groff of Athens County, a Save Ohio Parks steering committee member:
“Two months ago, Save Ohio Parks noticed anomalies with hundreds of pro-fracking comments and brought this to the attention of the Oil and Gas Land Management Commission. Now we learn these emails were coordinated by an out-of-state interest group with a history of falsifying public comments in multiple states. The Commission must strike these comments from the record. Anything less makes a mockery of the public engagement process.”
In response to the story, the following quote can be attributed, in whole or in part, to Molly Jo Stanley, Southeast Ohio Regional Director for the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC):
“In January during the rulemaking process, the Ohio Environmental Council advocated at the Oil and Gas Land Management Commission for strong public notice and comment procedures to ensure Ohioans’ voices play a significant role in decisions concerning their public lands. But we did not imagine their voices could be drowned out by hundreds of allegedly fake comments coordinated by out-of-state oil and gas interests. This is unacceptable. The OEC and Save Ohio Parks call on the Commission to halt decision-making on all leasing nominations until these comments are investigated and the public record is corrected.”
Save Ohio Parks is a statewide, all-volunteer organization concerned about fracking in, under or near our state parks, forests, wildlife areas and other public lands. Members believe that since the people of Ohio pay for and use our public lands, we deserve a say over what happens to them. Save Ohio Parks is a subsidiary of People Protecting Ohio Public Lands, LLC.
The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) is the state’s most comprehensive and effective environmental advocate for a healthier, more sustainable Ohio. The OEC develops and ensures the implementation of forward-thinking, science-based, pragmatic solutions to secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home.