Fearing a chilling effect on economic development here, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber announced Thursday its intent to form a coalition aimed at combating a charter amendment on the city’s May 7 primary ballot to ban fracking within city limits if voters approve.
The organization will have a news conference today, unveiling a group of business, labor and community leaders who support the oil and gas industry in the Mahoning Valley and strongly oppose the charter amendment, which local activists landed on the primary ballot in February after they collected the necessary 1,562 signatures to do so.
At the news conference, members of the coalition will be introduced, and some of them will speak on the importance of shale development for the Valley and what effect the charter amendment could have on jobs and investment throughout the region.
The chamber has been vocal about such an amendment since activists said they would conduct a petition drive to counter Youngstown City Council’s decision in October that approved legislation allowing the city to solicit offers from companies to lease city-owned land for oil and gas drilling.
Some of the amendment’s core provisions, if approved, include an outright ban on fracking, language to enforce any activity that violates it or natural resources and a stipulation that imposes liabilities on operations in neighboring communities.