Thursday, April 19, 2012


Plain Township Trustee Louis Giavasis likes to argue that fracking (the process of forcing rock embedded natural gas to the surface) is not a Republican or Democratic issue.

And he does have some compelling points to his argument.

But when one "follows the money," it is abundantly clear that by and large it is Republican Party public officials who the oil and gas industry thinks is its best best to win the battle between the industry and environmentalists who constitute the anti-fracking movement.

The Giavasis side of the argument is ladened with some heavy hitter Democrats.

Right here in Stark County probably the foremost Democratic proponent for the oil and gas industry is Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II.  In his State of the City address earlier this year he took the step of putting the fame of Canton being the The Utica Capital (the Utica shale formation from which most of the natural gas is to be extracted) right alongside Canton being the site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The SCPR has learned that Healy is out and about touting his "Utica Capital" spiel.

Healy is frothing at the mouth at the prospect of an estimate that some 65,000 jobs producing some $3.3 billion in employee income (many of which are said to be in the $50,000 per annum range) will be coming to Ohio by 2014.

However, one local union official told The Report yesterday that he is not sure all that many jobs (especially union) will be coming to Canton and the greater Stark County.  He said that he has a feeling from discussions he has had with Baker Hughes (set to bring about 700 oilfield services jobs to Massillon) that many of the workers will come from out of Ohio.

You can be sure that Democratic Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry is supporting fracking as did her predecessor Frank Cicchinelli.

At the congressional level, soon to be a U.S. House of Representative for part of Stark County (the Alliance area) Tim Ryan (Democrat - Youngstown) is a huge supporter of the oil and gas industry and fracking notwithstanding the fact his home area has be plagued with a recent splurge of earthquakes thought to be caused by the operation of injection wells (which are used to dispose of fracking waste water) in the area.

On the Republican side the foremost facilitator and advocate for fracking is 50th Ohio House District state Rep. Christina Hagan.  Recently, the Cleveland Plain Deal published a piece showing her among the top three state officials receiving campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry having received a documented $7,500 from March of 2011 when she was appointed to the House.

The Hagan contributions are part of a $600,000 layout by the oil and gas lobbyists to Ohio some 32 legislators of which 29 are Republicans.

The SCPR has received a report that Republican Plain Township Trustee was overheard at a local exercising facility as referring to some Stark County anti-frackers (i.e. Concerned Citizens of Stark County) as being "idiot environmentalists."  When contacted by The Report about the allegation, he denied that he had said any such thing.

Republican Governor John Kasich has been ga-ga over the prospects of fracking bailing the Ohio economy out of the doldrums since very early in his administration.

Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown says he is neither pro-fracking nor anti-fracking.

Republican presidential candidate and pro-fracker Mitt Romney is seemingly on a mission to paint President Obama as being anti-fracking.

Recently, published a chart showing oil and gas industry overwhelmingly supporting Republican politicians.

It will be interesting to see which political party made the right choice on which side of the fracking issue to lineup on.

If the prospect of fracking proves to be an economic boom without attendant environmental safety problems  for Stark County, Ohio and America without, then Republicans stand gain with the American public.

If, on the other hand, there are "Deep Water Horizons" out there lurking, then Democrats, of course, are likely to be seen has having tried to protect the environment.

At the end of the day all one has to do is FOLLOW THE MONEY to know that the fracking issue, indeed, has strong partisan political overtones to it.

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