Fracking-ban amendment for Youngstown heads to May ballot

YOUNGSTOWN — Despite questions about whether a citizen-organized charter-amendment proposal to ban fracking in Youngstown is enforceable, city council members applauded the work by those behind the initiative.

Council approved an ordinance tonight to place the proposal on the May 7 primary election ballot.

Council had no choice but to pass it, said Law Director Anthony Farris, and then send it to the Mahoning County Board of Elections. The board will check to determine if the charter-amendment petitions contain enough valid signatures to get on the ballot.

Frack Free Mahoning Valley, the group behind the petitions, has about 4,000 signatures. The group needs 1,562 valid signatures to be placed in front of voters.

“It’s pretty awesome to see citizens engaged in the process over something they feel strongly about,” said Councilman Mike Ray, D-4th.

“The people did everything they needed to do and it will be up to the voters to decide,” added Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th.

The proposal includes language that would make it illegal to drill for gas and oil in the city.

Because the state has complete control over regulating fracking, however, Farris and other city officials said the charter-amendment proposal is “unforceable.”

Frack Free members disagree.

If the proposal gets on the ballot, the city could object to the legality of the issue, Farris said. No decision has been made.

For the complete story, read Thursday's Vindicator and

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