The Consumer Energy Alliance is a fossil fuel-backed front group that has been repeatedly caught submitting fake public comments in support of fossil fuel projects. Now, a batch of suspect submissions has appeared in Ohio, supporting fracking in the Salt Fork state park, like one supposedly signed by Briella Keep. But Briella has never been to Salt Fork state park, isn’t pro-fracking and at nine years old, certainly didn’t write the letter supporting “responsible” oil and gas fracking and submit it to the Oil and Gas Land Management Commission.
“This is not OK,” Brittany Keep, Briella’s mom, told Cleaveland.com. “She definitely did not submit that draft.” The letter, which touts “opportunities for economic development and the creation of family-sustaining jobs” in Ohio, includes the family’s home address, Brittany’s phone number, and Briella’s email address. An investigation by Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer has found dozens of Ohio families like the Keeps who say their names were used without their permission to flood the OGLMC with public comments supporting fracking in state parks.
‘City boys exploiting the rural environment’
“Wow, that’s sad to hear,” said Justin Watkins, of Columbus, after learning his name was used on a pro-fracking comment from the CEA. “I am not in support of fracking and have never pledged to be.”
More than 1,000 form letters supporting drilling in state parks were submitted after being drafted by the Consumer Energy Alliance, a group previously accused of similar schemes in Wisconsin in 2014, South Carolina in 2018, and Ohio in 2016. Fracking is just “city boys exploiting the rural environment,” said an infuriated Charles Leftwich of Cleveland, whose name was also put on a letter without his permission. “Fracking destroys the water table, the land, it destroys everything,” he added. “It doesn’t need to be taking place anywhere near a state park, that’s why it’s a state park.” (Cleveland.com)