YOUNGSTOWN — A handful of Youngstown State University science professors voiced their support today for a charter amendment that would ban fracking within city limits, citing environmental and health costs concerns.
The group, headed by Ray Beiersdorfer, a geology professor and member of Frackfree Mahoning Valley, represented 20 faculty members from a range of scientific disciplines.
Beiersdorfer urged a “yes” vote on May 6 , saying fracking has been linked to birth defects in Colorado, to air and water pollution and to earthquakes in Mahoning County.
“This ban does not have to be permanent but should remain in effect at least until companies can control the air pollution [especially the harmful volatile organic compounds], safely treat radioactivity in the waste, and are required to clean their used fracking water before safely returning it to the natural source from which it came,” he said in the lobby of YSU’s Ward Beecher Planetarium.
The measure, appearing on the ballot for the third time Tuesday, has drawn opposition from the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber and other business and political leaders. Those groups paint it as a “job-killer,” arguing that it is too broadly written and would negatively impact a range of other industries.
“It’s not really about oil and gas,” said Tony Paglia, chamber spokesman. “It’s about trying to hinder industrial development and industrial activity in Youngstown.”