An educational program funded by Ohio’s oil and gas industry and sponsored by Radio Disney has environmental activists — and some parents — up in arms over what they say is a hijacking of public education by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) interests, in a state sitting on billions of dollars’ worth of gas-rich shale.
The program, called Rocking in Ohio, went on a 26-stop tour of elementary schools and science centers across the state last month. It involves interactive demonstrations of how oil and gas pipelines work, and is led by three staffers from Radio Disney’s Cleveland branch. It is entirely funded by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP), which gets its money from oil and gas companies.
Radio Disney, a nationwide network of radio stations aimed at kids, has said it will take the tour to other states if it deems the program successful. The company could not be reached for comment in time for the publication of this story.
Environmental activists and parents have called the program “propaganda” for promoting a controversial industry. Fracking — a process in which thousands of gallons of water and chemicals are injected into deep wells in order to break up rocks that contain natural gas or oil — has been a boon to Ohio’s economy but has caused myriad environmental issues in the state.