After spending years aggressively preparing to lease state property for fracking to oil and gas companies, John Kasich has suddenly and abruptly changed his mind after a secret memo showed that Kasich’s team had prepared a hit list of anti-fracking organziations and individuals in an attempt to sell Ohioans on their plan to drill on state land.

Here’s a quick timeline of events leading up to today’s big lie announcement that Kasich would never want to drill on state property…

  • On June 21, 2011 House Bill 133 was passed by the Ohio Senate and is quickly signed by Governor Kasich.  The bill would open up Ohio’s state parks and forest to gas and oil exploration and “fracking”.
  • In early 2012 Kasich’s ODNR team begins an intensive operation to identify and catalog state property sitting on potential oil and gas deposits.
  • In April 2012, Kasich’s ODNR team released sample drilling leases for state parks.
  • By August,  Kasich’s ODNR team created a plan to aggressively market fracking on state land.  The plan included a hit-list of “eco-left” individuals and groups who needed to be targeted, including State Reps Nikki Antonio and Bob Hagan.   It also provided a list of supporters that could be enlisted to help, including Haliburton, JobsOhio and right-wing blog Third Base Politics.
  • That same month, multiple members of Kasich’s office, including Wayne Struble and Chief-of-Staff Beth Hansen, met with ODOT officials to discuss the plan.
  • This past Saturday (2/15), news of the marketing plan was leaked to the press by the Kasich administration in an attempt to get out ahead of planned press conference by ProgressOhio.   Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols lied to the Dispatch claiming that “the governor’s office had never seen the plan”.
  • On Tuesday (2/18), news of the meeting between ODOT and Kasich’s team was revealed.   Nichols, now caught in a lie, told the AP: “of course the administration is going to coordinate and plan ahead on an important issue like gas production on state land.”   By the afternoon, Kasich’s people cancelled a planned meeting with Enquirer reporters and editors.
  • Today (2/19), now in full crisis mode, Nichols told the Dispatch that “the governor doesn’t support fracking in state parks… and that’s been his position for the past year and a half.”

You can’t make up a story like this.

The Kasich administration spends two years finding state property that can be leased to oil and gas drillers, they draw up sample leases, they prepare a marketing plan for selling fracking in parks to Ohioans, and now suddenly Kasich has never supported drilling on state lands??

Even worse, Nichols keeps getting caught in lies, and he tries to cover it up with more lies.   In 5 days we’ve gone from:   ‘The governor’s office has never heard of this secret fracking memo‘ to ‘of course we worked with ODOT on that fracking memo’ to ‘Fracking?  On state lands?  We never supported that!’

Ladies and Gentlemen?  The John Kasich Administration at its best.