THE CHESAPEAKE CONTRIBUTION
The SCPR routinely checks the campaign finance reports of area politicians to see who might be influencing them in their public policy decisions.
Tuesday was the filing deadline for Ohio's annual campaign finance report which contains campaign finance activity for the second half of 2011, so yours truly did some checking yesterday.
Of first interest to yours truly was the report of 50th Ohio House appointee (running for election the first time this coming November) Christina Hagan (R - Marlboro Township).
Ms. Hagan has become increasingly active in oil and gas circles lately on the issue of fracking and the SCPR was just a tad curious as to whether or not the report would show any contributions from primary players from the oil and gas industry in fracking activity.
On November 14, 2011 she sponsored a natural resources development forum at the Alliance location of Robertson Heating Supply. It just so happens that on the list of speakers was a representative of Chesapeake Energy.
Twenty-one (21) days later Hagan gets a $5,000.00 campaign contribution from Chesapeake.
Undoubtedly, the Hagan reaction and explanation: a mere co-incidence of timing and she on her own analysis sees great merit in fracking for the economic benefit of Ohio/Stark County and Chesapeake's campaign contribution has nothing to do with the zeal of her support for natural gas production?
This past week the SCPR learned from Don McDonald who heads up the Stark County Local Emergency Planning Committee ("SCLEPC" - Stark's local government responsible for dealing with hazardous materials which gets out into the public domain) that he became familiar with Representative Hagan and her interest in fracking from the Robertson event.
Another interesting development, no?
And a bonus. Add to her opportunity another venue within which to work for natural gas production interests, to wit:
McDonald arranged with her to participate on a symposium planning committee of SCLEPC that is putting together - according to him - an "unbiased" forum (March 10th) at Stark State College (SSC) for Stark local government officials to provide information on fracking and the dangers of hazardous materials given the fact that some hazardous chemicals (even the industry itself reluctantly but dismissively admits) are used in the fracking process.
Representative Hagan is unbiased, Mr. McDonald? She will help produce unbiased presenters at the symposium? And the safety and well-being of Stark Countians may be at stake. Hmm?
Of course, as director of Stark's hazardous materials prevention effort, the stakes for SCLEPC could not be higher that Stark County's governing officials get a full and complete appreciation, depth and range of the risks so that they can have first responders prepared to deal with any eventuality.
If an incident does occur and Stark County's officials do not come out of the symposium prepared to deal with same, then guess where eyes and full attention will be directed in terms of accountability?
You've got it: the Stark County Local Emergency Planning Committee members, its symposium formation committee and, of course, the director.
While possibility of hazardous materials emanating from fracking is not a direct responsibility of the Stark County commissioners, one can be sure that if an accident occurs they will be up-to-their-eyeballs in dealing with a public demanding answers as to how the accident happened in the first place, what is being done to solve the problem as well as a hoard of other related questions.
A prudent board of commissioners - one would think - will want to monitor very closely who presents at the SSC symposium, what is presented and how thorough, far-ranging and complete the total presentation package is.
Or, will the board want to turn a blind eye and say that SCLEPC's business and ignore the format and the agenda of the March 10th conclave altogether and hope for the best?
Maybe they ought to consider calling Director McDonald in for a public work session for a thoroughgoing discussion on the matter?
OTHER 2011 - SECOND HALF - HAGAN CONTRIBUTIONS
An interesting list, no? In her 20s and working the PACs as if she were a political veteran.
So young and already well on her way to being a captive of the special interests!