From Youngstown's Community Bill of Rights Committee on Friday:
TWO ITEMS FOLLOW: AN OPEN PUBLIC TOWNHALL-STYLE MEETING TO DISCUSS FRACKING, TOXIC FRACKING WASTE INJECTION WELLS, LOCAL SELF-GOVERNANCE AND MORE WILL BE HELD ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2014 IN YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO, AND THE YOUNGSTOWN COMMUNITY BILL OF RIGHTS COMMITTEE OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCES THAT IT SURPASSED ITS GOAL OF COLLECTING THE REQUIRED NUMBER OF VOTER SIGNATURES TO PUT A COMMUNITY BILL OF RIGHTS CHARTER AMENDMENT QUESTION ON THE MAY 2014 BALLOT
Youngstown, Ohio, February 14, 2014 – Thousands of Youngstown, Ohio voters have again indicated via their petition signatures that they want to vote in May, 2014 on whether or not to ban fracking within Youngstown city limits and to uphold their unalienable right to local control and self-governance to protect their public health, safety, well-being and the democratic process.
The group says that voters want to decide how they want their communities to be. It is their right.
The Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Committee is pleased to officially announce that they have surpassed their goal of collecting enough signatures on their petitions to add a ballot question to the May, 2014 ballot in Youngstown. The signatures will now go through the required legal processes to create a ballot question.
“With our strong showing at the polls last time and our powerful base of almost 5000 Youngstown voters who voted YES for the Community Bill of Rights Charter Amendment in November, 2013, we fully expect to win this time.We only needed 6 percent more YES votes and we would have won last November. Especially as the nation is watching the West Virginia drinking water tragedy related to the coal industry unfold, and they see the shocking inadequacy and failure of state regulatory oversight and its disastrous results,the local community is increasingly concerned about the safety of our drinking water source, and rightly so. We need local self-governance that affirms our inherent rights to local control to protect public health, safety, and well-being,” said Susie Beiersdorfer, a Frackfree Mahoning Valley and Community Bill of Rights Committee member.
The Community Bill of Rights Committee and supporters of Frackfree Mahoning Valley say that the truth about the realities of fracking and related processes and infrastructure and their high risks to our public health, safety, and well-being and to our democratic process is becoming clearer every day. In addition, there is loss of property values and private property rights as in forced pooling and unitization.Numerous and almost daily news reports cover accidents, irregularities, and suffering related to fracking and related processes and infrastructure
Despite continual news reports, both local and national, of adverse situations and suffering, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) continues to misguidedly permit toxic fracking waste injection wells and other fracking related infrastructure near homes and other densely populated areas. Issues related to the protection of the drinking water source for over 200,000 people – Meander Reservoir, fracking-related concerns about Mill Creek Park, injection wells built in Niles, and the risk of injection well-related earthquakes are ongoing concerns for the community.
The group says that despite their oppositions’ exorbitant spending against the charter amendment and oppositional efforts in what the group believes is an attempt to stifle the Community Bill of Rights positive message, the supporters of the Community Bill of Rights Charter Amendment are gaining ground because the truth always resonates. The Community Bill of Rights supporters received a tremendous amount of positive feedback as they canvassed door to door. The Community Bill of Rights Committee expects to gain even more ground this time – enough to win.
“We are asking voters to please vote “YES” in May, 2014 to protect our water, air, and soil, and to affirm all citizens’ fundamental rights to local control and to protect the public’s health, safety, and well-being.Inherent fundamental rights are always enforceable,” said Susie Beiersdorfer.
Frackfree Mahoning Valley, Frackfree America National Coalition (based in Youngstown),and members of the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Committee announce that they will officially kick off their public awareness campaign by having an open, public townhall-style meeting on Friday, February 28, 2014. The townhall will include a screening of some brief films, a brief presentation by geologist Ray Beiersdorfer, Ph.D., Professor of Geology at Youngstown State University, and – sure to be lively – open discussion where attendees can ask questions, voice their concerns, share information, and offer positive solutions.
All media, the general public, first responders, health professionals, attorneys, public officials and representatives, and all others are invited to attend this very important, free townhall meeting.
The townhall program is titled, “Man-made Earthquakes, Toxic Fracking Waste Injection Wells, Open Fracking Waste Impoundment Pits, and What a Community Bill of Rights Means for Communities:Finding Common Ground, not Shaky Ground.”
The public townhall-style meeting will take place on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 7 PM to 9 PM at The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown, located at 1105 Elm St., Youngstown, Ohio. (Elm & Illinois.)
The groups plan to reach out to other Ohio communities and other states to address common concerns including those issues that they say state regulators have failed to address adequately for the public.
For example, many citizens locally and nationwide have expressed their highly valid concerns about public health and safety and democratic process risks associated with heavy industrial fracking-related operations and also to the underground injection of millions upon millions of gallons of toxic fracking waste that are constantly being created by the unconventional fracking process.
Where will all of the massive amounts of toxic fracking waste go?There is no good solution to this problem other than stopping the creation of more waste in the first place.Ohio is not a dumping ground for toxic fracking waste, nor are any other states. No one and no community is expendable.
Another item to be discussed will be newly allowed impoundments for fracking waste in Ohio. Frackfree Mahoning Valley (FFM) cites the lack of transparency and the lack of easily accessible public information about the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) allowing (as of January 1, 2014) football field-sized open toxic fracking waste impoundment “lagoons.” The group says that they have no confidence in ODNR’s stated intentions to allow public comment or even listen to public concerns about the lagoons or other new rules. FFM says they are not waiting for ODNR’s timetable, and that ODNR’s track record of lack of transparency about issues such as this is alarming and needs to be highlighted.
All people and communities are encouraged to attend the free townhall meeting to discuss what they and their local representatives can do to proactively protect their public health, safety, well-being, and fundamental rights.
The February 28, 2014 Youngstown townhall meeting details and printable flyer are at the following url:
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.