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Youngstown voters reject fracking ban in city for the 3rd time



Published: Wed, May 7, 2014 @ 12:10 a.m.

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

With city voters rejecting a citizen-initiative charter amendment to ban fracking in the city for the third time in a year, supporters of the Community Bill of Rights say it will be back for a fourth time and more, if needed.

“We’ll put it on again,” said Susie Beiersdorfer, a member of the Community Bill of Rights Committee that led the effort. “It doesn’t matter how many times we have to fight for our inalienable rights to clean water and clean air.”

“This is not going to stop,” said Lynn Anderson, another committee member. “It will keep going until it’s passed. It will keep going. This is not over.”

Tuesday looked like the best opportunity for the amendment to pass.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced last month that there’s a “probable” connection between drilling and earthquakes in nearby Poland in March, BP pulled out of the Utica Shale last week taking a $521 million tax write-off on about 100,000 leased acres in Trumbull County, and a recent report showed greenhouse gas emissions at Pennsylvania drilling sites up to 1,000 times higher than initially estimated.

The results at the polls were closer this time than the two failed attempts last year. But Youngstown voters rejected it Tuesday by 8.5 percentage points. It lost by 13.7 percent in May 2013 and by 9.7 percentage points in November.

“The citizens of Youngs-town have spoken loud and clear on this issue,” said Mike Chadsey, spokesman for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. “It is time to move past this debate and get back to the business at hand, which is making sure the hardworking folks in Youngstown continue to have economic opportunities being brought forward by shale development.”

Chadsey said he respects the opposition, but “they sure are wasting a lot of people’s time and money.”

Both Anderson and a tearful Beiersdorfer contended the election “was stolen,” and that the vote totals weren’t accurate. They claimed earlier results had the charter amendment winning by a large margin. But except for the early-voting total, which had the amendment winning 814-to-800, four updated results from the Mahoning County Board of Elections and the final tally had the proposal losing.

Members of the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment, a group opposed to the amendment, say the proposal isn’t enforceable because the Ohio Department of Natural Resources controls fracking in the state.

But if the proposal had been approved, it would be a “job-killer and put Youngstown far behind other cities in attracting new business to the city,” said Mayor John A. McNally, a coalition member, because it sends the wrong signal to companies about this area’s support of fracking.

“Youngstown is making a comeback,and this charter amendment would have stopped that growth,” McNally added.

“We deserve more opportunities and a brighter future for all of our citizens and this law could have put that in jeopardy,” said Butch Taylor, business manager for Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396, which funded the successful effort to defeat the amendment.

The Plumbers and Pipefitters spent $40,949 compared with $6,328 by the anti-frackers as of April 16, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed at the board of elections.


Comments

1bmanresident(597 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

O Susie, do us all a favor and disappear. Clearly the people of Youngstown are for prosperity, better lives for everyone, and a little pollution is what is needed to do so.
Please get in your fossil fueled vehicle and hug some trees, preferably out of state.
Putting this issue on the ballot every election will not change the fact that this bill of unrights is unwanted.

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2republicanRick(1174 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Biersdorfer was crying and saying the election was "stolen" shows us she is a mentally unstable kook who is afraid of progress and prosperity for all.

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3walter_sobchak(1927 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Thou shalt not frack. Must have been on the one tablet Moses dropped on his way down from the mountain.

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4YtownParent(331 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

The anti-frackers are narrowly focused on their single issue but don't seem to be thinking about how their campaigns have effected the environment. An extra page on each ballot to print the lengthy and wordy amendment destroyed how many trees? Creates how many extra pounds of waste?

All to get a law on the books that will cost more money to defend in court where it would ultimately get thrown out. How many adverse environmental decisions, like using lower octane/higher emissions gasoline or cancelling recycling programs, will have to made by city departments and taxpayers to cover those court costs.

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5palbubba(664 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe our elected representatives could actually pass some meaningful legislation making any issue defeated at the polls cannot be put back on the ballot for at least 2 years (longer would be better). Then these people that are wasting our time and resources will finally get the message. Just keep putting it on the ballot and wasting so much more time, money and resources. Susie needs to find something constructive to do with her time. How many people have died due to bad water or bad air in our community? Answer, zero.

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6hvahila(1 comment)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

It's a sad day for Youngstown...people years from now will wonder why they didn't pay attention to the evils of this polluting industry that doesnt care for their communities. Keep your head held high and carry on, we all need you activists. What your doing is so very important!!

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7joed(1 comment)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

There are no jobs to kill - this work is highly specialized and they bring those workers with them from Oklahoma and Texas, and register their cars locally so they look as if they are locals. Exposure to the chemicals used in the process is known to cause breast, lung, and liver cancer, and contribute to childhood leukemia. If drinking water becomes contaminated -- which is likely as there has already been a case of a cracked well casing at Meander -- there is no workable solution. And if the radioactive frack waste site that ODNR has permitted in Youngstown goes into operation, expect spills of radioactive waste in the city, as the trucks that transport that waste experience spills all the time.

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8kurtw(876 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

People who want the facts on this issue should spend time as I did recently watching two opposing documentaries- "Gas Land" and "Truth Land". I rented mine at the Girard Library and watched them two nights in a row. Pretty informative and, speaking personally, the conclusions I reached about Hydraulic Fracturing- aren't ones likely to please Susie B. and her Crowd. People like her are using hysteria and false information to destroy- if they can- an industry they oppose on Ideological Grounds. Typical Left Wing Trick.

For example, the scene in Truth Land that made the greatest impression on me was when a farmer in southern New York- with no gas wells of any kind for miles around- showed how his well water "caught fire" (exactly as shown in Gas Land- supposedly to indict fracking). He held a lighted propane torch next to his running kitchen faucet and "walla"- FIRE! Seems that's really no big deal for anybody with any experience with well water. Methane occurs naturally in many soils and if a well is too shallow- or if the casing is weak or broken- it infuses the water and ignites- has nothing to do with gas drilling or fracking- just a fact of nature- no mystery there- but zealots like Susie B. and her cohorts are using that fact to attack and destroy- if they can- an industry they dislike for purely ideological reasons. I hope they fail in their efforts and get sent- like Marxism as a whole- securely to rest in the "Dustbin of History".

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9NSYtownGuy(7 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Here is a clue .... it failed because there were 3 pages for one issue. If you don't want fracking .... make the vote only for that. Forget the charter amendment crap ... forget about reorganizing how the city conducts business .... forget about grandstanding "bill of rights" forget about excluding businesses that are noisy ... forget about making it illegal to smoke in the city. Read what you folks put out there .... you would not be able to drive cars after that was passed. No businesses would be able to function. I was born here ... I wish I could work here ..... try driving 100 miles a day for work than maybe you'll finally get it.

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10kurtw(876 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

NSY- Good Point! I never read the entire proposal (not having the good fortune of living in Y-town)- always thought it was just about fracking- but all that other crap they added- Let's face it what these folks want- Good Lefties they are- is to turn the Mahoning Valley into a miniature of the State of California- Heaven Forbid!

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11mtnrunner2(1 comment)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I understand the notion that people don't want to be harmed by the activities of others. That is good. But we have laws for that, namely tort law. If someone hurts you, you have the right to be compensated for your loss.

However, we should not be punishing those who have not yet done anything wrong, and that's what bans on fracking would do.

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