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Head’s Up to Ohio Landowners: Beware of Fake Coalitions

02/06/2018 2:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

By Energy InDepth's Jackie Stewart

For the past few years, we have watched the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) and other “Keep It In the Ground” (KIITG) activists employ bait-and-switch tactics to try (unsuccessfully) to stop pipeline development and ban fracking. After epic failures across the state, fringe environmental activists have turned to launching fake landowner coalitions in a new attempt to mislead the public, with a prime example being the Tri-County Landowners Coalition.

But these so-called “landowner” coalitions are nothing more than front groups for a small group of well-coordinated activists who have no interest in leasing or protecting royalty owner interests — but instead want to stop all oil and gas development in its tracks. And their overall goal is even more far-reaching than the oil and gas industry, as they have publicly stated they want to “decide what industries come in here.”


In response to these fake landowner groups in Ohio, the actual national landowner advocacy group – the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) – recently told EID,

“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. Most of the groups claiming to be ‘local grassroots’ organizations may have enlisted a few local residents to carry the banner, but don’t be fooled. The tell on who is behind them is the rhetoric they spew which is the exact same message developed by Food and Water Watch, Food and Water Action, Sierra Club, Green Peace, etc., who are anything but local. Don’t believe me? 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. They all point to lack of federal Safe Drinking Water Act authority over the oil and gas industry as some terrible miscarriage of justice. 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.”

So who’s behind the fake Tri-County Landowners Coalition?

Launched by Frack Free Ohio activist Bill Baker, the so-called Tri-County Landowners Coalition “represents” three Ohio counties — Richland, Ashland, and Holmes — and includes, Hayesville Community on Fracked Gas (HCFG), Clear Fork Landowners Group (CFLG), Advocates for Local Land (ALL), and the Monroe Township Landowners Coalition (MTLC).

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Baker and Frack Free Ohio, but he is no stranger to pushing anti-fracking activities in Ohio. Recall that Baker was behind a Community Bill of Rights effort in 2013 in Richland County, as well.  Five years later, Baker is now attempting to launch this fake coalition, backed by what appears to be about five people, including Elaine Tanner, program director for the nonprofit Friends For Environmental Justice (FFEJ). Tanner recently claimed she has been “a lifelong resident” of Ohio, yet as recently as September 2015, she was identified as part of the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC), in that case fighting the coal industry, and was quoted as being a resident of Letcher County, Ky.


“Our lives in Appalachia are being shortened,” pointed out Elaine Tanner of Letcher County (Kentucky), noting the ‘unimaginable damage to our environment’ coal companies are leaving behind and the ‘legacy pollution we face in our future.’ She said that coal companies should be held accountable for this damage. (emphasis added).


A recently staged press conference was clearly coordinated by OccupyEarth USA, as the event was filmed and posted to their YouTube page immediately after its conclusion. OccupyEarthUSA, in conjunction with United Citizen Action Network (UCAN), also enlisted Baker’s help to raise money to launch the epic failure of the Ohio #NODAPL copycat camp last year to stop leasing of federal minerals in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest.  For the record, the website for UCAN Ohio no longer exists, nor do the bogus copycat camps.

So why the landowner angle these days? 


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