New landowner commissions springing up to oppose fossil fuel development in Ohio may be front groups for large environmental organizations, Energy In Depth (EID) reports.
Four landowner groups banded together to create the coalition Frack Free Ohio to oppose exploratory drilling for oil in three counties in the state. The origins of the groups and their agenda may have little to do with Ohio residents, however.
The coalition is led by environmental activist Bill Baker and others with connections to movements opposing fossil fuel development. The organizers claim that a majority of local Ohioans support their positions, and that Ohio landowners roundly reject allowing fracking on their land.
The National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO), an oil & gas royalty owners interest group, says Baker’s claims are erroneous and greatly exaggerated.
“This constant drum beat by folks who do not want any fossil fuels developed under the guise of ‘local control’ is tiring, and for those of us who have a national perspective is anything but local,” NARO told EID in a statement.
NARO claims that although a few local residents may be the face of the anti-frack push in the community, the movement is supported and funded through national and international groups such as Food and Water Watch, The Sierra Club and Green Peace.
“Just visit any of those organizations’ websites and see what they say about oil and gas, and you will find the exact same talking points these supposed local grassroots groups are using,” NARO added. “Look, this is NOT about local control. This is a private property issue. This is about a few who want to control everyone else for their own selfish reasons.”
Environmentalists do not have a strong track record of cutting out fossil fuels from local economies. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, an environmental group that pushes legislation against oil and gas companies annually, succeeds only about a sixth of the time, according to EID.
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