At a Thursday gathering of more than 300 key players involved with drilling for natural gas and oil in Ohio's Utica Shale, the main subjects were the "hows, wheres and whats" of drilling.

But in Columbus, the politics of drilling is creating a growing "Frackgate" controversy about possible drilling in state parks that is spreading into the Governor's race.

The issue is an Ohio Department of Natural Resources memo obtained by the Sierra Club.

It outlines a public relations strategy between ODNR and business and drilling industry groups to promote the idea of drilling in state parks. It also lists so-called enemies of that, including environmental groups and state lawmakers.

The state claims the plan was never implemented.

In 2011, Governor John Kasich signed a law he then supported to allow drilling in state parks.

On Wednesday came the first word that he had changed his position.

His spokesman, Rob Nichols, denies that it was because of heat from "Frackgate" coverage.

Nichols says, "At this time, the Governor does not support fracking in state parks. We reserve the right to revisit that."

Nichols said the change of position came a year and a half ago, but was not announced in a press release. He said the governor had no knowledge of the ODNR plan.

Kasich has not made any appointments to a panel needed to approve such drilling. No drilling has taken place.

Tom Stewart, CEO of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, was a major speaker at Crain's Utica Shale event.

"Why should people of Ohio who own that (park) property be denied access to that property? " he asked.

Asked if ODNR was in bed with an industry it's supposed to regulate, he said, "I think that's a ridiculous notion...It's a bogeyman issue spun by people trying to stop oil and gas drilling in the state of Ohio."

He claimed ODNR is a big agency and is supposed to care for and get full value out of Ohio's parks and should be designing strategies to promote the administration's goals.

Democratic State Representatives Robert Hagan, of Youngstown, and Nickie Antonio, of Lakewood, were included on the so-called enemies list.

Antonio said she found being on an opponents' list "very, very troubling."

Hagan said, "This governor and his business friends care about only one thing. That's profit ,dollars and the bottom line,"

Governor candidate Ed FitzGerald seized the issue.

"This is the stuff we hear privately about the way they do business all the time. It's so similar to what's going on with Chris Christie," he said.

Kasich had tried pass a significant severance tax on drillers. Republican lawmakers declined to pass it and are now lining up behind a much lower tax.

Democratic State Representative Mike Foley, of Cleveland, said, "It's a pittance. It's embarrassing. It will still be the lowest of any state that has a tax."

Stewart said he could not explain the Governor's position change. " I was three feet from him when he signed the bill...I think some people are having fun with this issue," he said.

Governor Kasich is not one of them.

It's likely this may draw more protesters to his "State of the State" Speech Monday night in Medina.

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