Drilling Down

Advocacy Group Seeks to Block 5th Frack Vote

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Voters for Ballot Integrity, a newly formed advocacy group opposed to what organizers say is abuse of the city’s charter amendment process by proponents of the Community Bill of Rights, will hold a press event today at the offices of the Mahoning County Board of Elections.

Backers of the Community Bill of Rights, which would curtail hydraulic fracturing in the city limits, have expressed their intent to bring the issue before voters for a fifth time this November. The initiative, promoted by FrackFree Mahoning Valley, was defeated four times, most recently last fall.

According to a news release from Voters for Ballot Integrity, a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision makes it improper for the charter amendment to go to the ballot again. Based on the decision in Morrison V. Beck Energy, the group says, the amendment is outside the city’s authority and the Ohio Constitution prohibits such measures from appearing on the ballot.

“It’s time voters take a stand against this seemingly never ending assault on Youngstown’s charter by a small group of fringe activists,” said Bill Padisak, president of the Mahoning-Trumbull AFL-CIO Labor Council. “Our coalition will bring awareness that this assault has cost taxpayers nearly $50,000. With the recent Ohio Supreme Court case, we can fight back to stop this group’s ballot and taxpayer abuse.”

In response, Lynn Anderson, an activist with FrackFree Mahoning Valley, pointed out that New York recently banned fracking “to protect their children’s health. Are the children of Youngstown worth less than the children of New York?” she asked. Youngstown citizens need to take back their water. This is what it’s all about.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.