New state law may keep anti-fracking measure off November ballot
An anti-fracking charter amendment could be kept off the city’s Nov. 7 ballot by the Mahoning County Board of Elections because of a conflict with state law.
Gov. John Kasich signed a bill in January – effective April 6 – that included an amendment giving more discretion to county boards of elections to invalidate local charter proposals that conflict with state law and/or the state constitution.
The anti-fracking proposal, rejected six previous times by city voters, would require the city to ban hydraulic fracturing and any activity related to it including “the depositing, storage, treatment, injection, disposal, transport or processing of wastewater.”
However, state law gives jurisdiction over fracking to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
When the Ohio Senate approved the measure in December, state Sen. Kevin Bacon of Minerva Park, R-3rd, specifically mentioned the Youngstown anti-fracking proposal as a main reason to include the amendment in a bill that was designed to revise foreclosure laws, according to media reports.
Mark Munroe, Mahoning elections chairman, said the board may be compelled to take action against the anti-fracking proposal.
Read more about the matter in Wednesday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.