Fracking Opponents Considering Constitutional Amendment

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Opponents of hydraulic fracturing and deep wastewater injection wells say they are working together “to draft and advance a state constitutional amendment that would secure and protect community rights to local self-government.”

The anti-fracking activists referred to last week’s ruling by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted that denied county charter votes in Medina, Fulton and Athens county that sought to outlaw fracking and injection wells.

In a statement released Friday, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund and the Ohio Community Rights Network equates such an effort to “the abolitionists, suffragists and civil rights advocates [who] did not go home when the might of the legislatures, executives and judiciaries was wielded against them.”

No timetable was given for when fracking opponents might begin circulating petitions to place a constitutional amendment on the Ohio ballot. The petitions would have to be certified by the secretary of state’s office and the ballot question deemed legal by Husted.

FrackFree Mahoning Valley submitted petitions Aug. 3 to the Mahoning County Board of Elections seeking a fifth vote by Youngstown voters on a measure that would ban hydraulic fracturing inside city limits.

As part of his decision, Husted said the ballot questions in Athens, Fulton and Medina counties relating to oil and gas exploration represented an attempt to circumvent state law in a manner the courts have already found to be in violation of the Ohio Constitution.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.