Voters on Tuesday rejected a proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing in a Youngstown, where disposal of wastewater from the drilling method led to earthquakes and alleged groundwater contamination.
The Community Bill of Rights on Youngstown’s ballot would have prohibited the controversial high-pressure oil and gas drilling technique, also called fracking, inside city limits. Unofficial results showed the vote was about 43 percent in favor of the proposal and 57 percent against it.
Youngstown City Council put the proposal on the ballot in February after an anti-fracking group called Frackfree Mahoning Valley collected the necessary signatures.
Member Susie Beiersdorfer of Youngstown said the group was disappointed but might consider rewriting the proposal and trying again.
Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber President Tom Humphries said the measure would have hurt local economic progress.
Drilling-related episodes in the city have primarily involved deep-injection wells — where wastewater from fracking and other forms of drilling is deposited — not the drilling itself.
But a string of high-profile incidents over the past several years involving disposal have turned the public’s attention toward the source of the wastewater: a boom in drilling in the Utica Shale that lies under eastern Ohio. In July, Gov. John Kasich ordered new state regulations on deep-injection wells.