Activists Seek Third Vote to Ban Fracking in City, Niles
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Opponents of hydraulic fracturing are going door-to-door in hopes of collecting enough signatures on petitions that would place the “Community Bill of Rights Charter Amendment” on the May 2014 primary ballot. Activists also report the creation of a new website, ProtectYoungstown.org.
Meanwhile, activists in Niles are also collecting signatures for a similar petition effort that seeks to place a ballot question on that city's primary ballot, and they have launched a website, KeepNilesSafe.org.
Youngstown voters twice defeated the charter amendment ballot question, first in May 2013 and again in November. The amendment attempted to ban hydraulic fracturing inside city limits. Opponents of the ballot question argued it was unenforceable under state law and anti-business.
According to a news release distributed by the committee, “The Community Bill of Rights Charter Amendment ballot question picked up 1,830 more yes votes since the May election and narrowed the margin of defeat from 13.71% to only 9.72 %.
“We now have a powerful base of almost 5,000 Youngstown voters that could easily sway an election of ballot question,” said Susie Beiersdorfer, a geologist and member of the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Committee. “We will win this time because the truth resonates. We needed only 6% more ‘yes’ votes to win on the ballot question in November. The gap is closing in our favor, and we soundly gained ground in November."
Lynn Anderson, also a member of the opposition group, points to records at the Mahoning County Board of Elections campaign finance website that list campaign spending by opponents of the charter amendment. “The opposition spent over $81,000 against this ballot initiative. It is disgraceful that the opposition hired out-of-state ad agencies to formulate direct mail to confuse the issue in the public’s mind,” she said.
The committee says it bases opposition to fracking on “valid scientific reports, facts, and other accurate documentation. ... Especially alarming to the Community Bill of Rights Committee and its supporters is that, locally or nationwide, heavy industrial fracking-related operations or infrastructure continue to be permitted near homes, children’s schools, farms, parks, forests, and cemeteries -- in neighborhoods and residential areas. Private property issues, such as forced pooling, occur. Real estate home property values can decrease as heavy fracking-related industrial operations are permitted near homes or residential areas.
“The group is concerned about the plight and adverse health claims of those residents living near a heavy industrial fracking operation permitted by the state of Ohio in Weathersfield Township.”
In its announcement of another petition drive, opponents emphasize the problems documented by the disposal of fracking waste in deep injection wells, “including the 4.9 magnitude earthquake Dec. 31, 2011, that scientists acknowledge was linked to D&L Energy’s former Northstar injection well in Youngstown.”
The group cites similar earthquakes – “almost 20 earthquakes in one month” in Azle, Texas -- as well as earthquakes in Oklahoma.
CLICK HERE to read the full statement of the Community Bill of Rights Committee.
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