Kasich balks at anti-fracking charter amendment

Gov. John Kasich, on a visit to the Mahoning Valley today, balked at a proposed charter amendment to ban fracking in Youngstown.

As voters at polling stations across the city cast their vote on the matter, which has been a contentious one among the activists that are pushing for the ban and the businesses afraid that it will turn the oil and gas industry away from Youngstown, Kasich said he hadn’t worried much about the effort or similar proposals across the state.

“We haven’t seen many efforts like this. People of the state of Ohio overwhelmingly support [the industry],” Kasich said. “It’s an industry that’s been around for 40 or 50 years and there’s just some scattered opposition.

“This is a state that is openly embracing this,” Kasich added. “We’ll see what the people of the city do, you know, but I don’t spend any time worrying about this because at the end of the day there’s massive support for the development of oil and gas in the state of Ohio and the jobs that are connected to it —­ that’s what matters most.”

Critics of the charter amendment say it will be unenforceable because the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has the sole authority to permit and regulate the state’s oil and gas industry.

But other parts of the sate, including Broadview Heights and Mansfield have passed similar bans, with many other areas, such as Athens and Kent, considering them.

Kasich was in Youngstown for a ribbon cutting ceremony at Exterran on Salt Springs Road. Public and company officials hailed the facility, which will manufacture production equipment used to treat oil and gas after it is extracted from the ground, as proof of economic growth from the region’s shale boom.

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