UPDATE | Anti-fracking amendment will be on fall ballot

YOUNGSTOWN — Only four minutes before the start of a Mahoning County Board of Elections’ hearing today to consider the validity of a citizen-initiated charter amendment to ban fracking in Youngstown, those who filed the challenge withdrew it.

“It is a good day for democracy,” said Susie Beiersdorfer, a member of the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Committee, which backed the charter amendment. “We the people certainly won.”

Concerns regarding conflicts of interest among board members played a factor in the withdrawal, according to a statement from the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

The chamber hired Lavelle and Associates, an Athens law firm, to challenge the legality of the anti-fracking proposal.

The board voted today to put the anti-fracking amendment on the Nov. 5 ballot.

The chamber-backed protest was filed on behalf of five city residents: George Popovich of East Florida Avenue, Tom Loney of Burma Drive, Rosemary Miller of West Indianola Avenue, Robert M. Ogden of Heather Lane and George Cintron of Greeley Lane.

The Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Committee needed at least 1,562 valid signatures on petitions to get the issue back on the ballot. It was soundly defeated in May.

The board of elections found 1,621 valid signatures among the 2,450 the group submitted.

For the complete story, read Saturday’s Vindicator and Vindy.com

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