Drilling Down

Anti-Fracking Measure Defeated for 6th Time

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown Community Bill of rights was rejected by city voters last night for a sixth time.

According to the Mahoning County Board of Elections unofficial report, the charter amendment, which would curtail operations related to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the city, lost 55.3% to 44.7%.

Representatives of the Mahoning County Coalition for Job Growth and Investment, a coalition of local business, labor, elected and community leaders formed by the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber, praised the ballot issue’s failure.

The chamber’s president and CEO, Tom Humphries, called its defeat a victory for the Mahoning Valley that will allow for continued economic development and new opportunity.

“This is the sixth time this charter amendment has been soundly rejected by the voters of Youngstown, and it is our hope that the radical, out-of-state activists who continually push this measure will finally accept the will of the people to protect their jobs and economic opportunity,” he said.

Jaladah Aslam, Community Mobilization Coalition vice chairwoman, also expressed the hope that backers of the charter amendment would accept the decision of Youngtown voters but was confident city voters would reject this “bad idea” if organizers continue to press it.

“We talked to thousands of residents over the course of this election. What is clear from those discussions is that voters saw through the lies and deceit of those pushing the amendment and viewed it for what it was—a job-killer that would roll back the progress our community has made,” Aslam said.

“Tonight we once again celebrate the defeat of a radical agenda that would kill the jobs of the hard-working men and women in the skilled trades,” said Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396 Business Manager Tim Callion. “We thank those who voted to protect jobs and call on the amendment organizers to respect the decision made by those voters.”

Still, supporters of the initiative aren’t backing down and say they are preparing to place the issue on the ballot during the next election.

“We keep putting our citizens’ Community Bill of Rights charter amendment on the ballot because it takes time for people to cut through the corporate propaganda touting jobs and ensuring safety, and time for people to realize that many so-called ‘community leaders’ put profits above people and pollution above planet,” said Susie Beiersdorfer, a member of FrackFree Mahoning Valley, who supported the local initiative. “We, the citizens of Youngstown, can make laws that protect our unalienable rights: water, air, land and local control. We’re in this for the long haul. We’re continuing our fight to keep Youngstown from becoming a sacrifice zone.”

Beiersdorfer also took exception as being characterized as a radical. “We are not out-of-state radicals,” she said. “We are locals working with people across the state and country to secure unalienable rights to clean air, water, land, and local control over corporate privileges to pollute for profit.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.