Blowback for Disney As Pro-Fracking Elementary School Tour Exposed
2014-01-10 0:00

By Sarah Lazare | Common Dreams

Disney has pulled the plug on a pro-fracking and drilling tour of elementary schools and science centers across Ohio, bankrolled by the state’s oil and gas industry, after drawing fury from environmental activists and concerned parents.

Yet critics charge Disney’s withdrawal, which was announced publicly on Thursday, falls short. "This is an important first step, but we want a policy to ensure children are not having fossil fuel energy promoted to them in Radio Disney’s programs across the country," said Lisa Hoyos, director of the group Climate Parents that played a lead role in the campaign against Disney, in an interview with Common Dreams.

"Rocking in Ohio" workshop from September 2013 (Photo: Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program Facebook Page)

Billed as an educational program, "Rocking in Ohio" visited elementary schools and science centers across the state, with a total of 26 stops last month. It was led by Radio Disney staffers based in Cleveland, who presented workshops promoting oil and gas pipelines to youth attendees. The presentations created party-like atmospheres with thumping pop music and pipeline-building contests, in what critics have slammed as propaganda for the oil and gas industry in a state that is ground zero for fracking.

All of the program’s funding came from the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP), which is in turn funded by the state’s oil and gas industry.

Radio Disney, which does nation-wide youth programming, had planned to bring the tour to other states if proven a success, The Hill reports.

Yet before they could go nation-wide, "Rocking in Ohio" sparked an outraged response.

A Climate Parents petition declaring, "Radio Disney should not—under the guise of teaching kids "science"—promote dirty energy that that gives kids asthma, pollutes our air and water, and fuels climate change," has garnered over 80,000 signatures.


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