Politicians, labor, business unite to defeat anti-fracking initiative

By David Skolnick



A number of local political, business and organized labor officials and groups have re-formed the Mahoning County Coalition for Job Growth and Investment in an effort to again defeat an anti-fracking ballot initiative in the city.

The group announced it was reorganizing Wednesday, a day after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 decision the county board of elections exceeded its authority by rejecting the initiative to the May 8 ballot.

The court ordered the board to place the proposal back on the ballot.

The proposal calls for a ban on fracking and anything related to the extraction of fossil fuels in the city.

Youngstown voters have rejected similar ballot measures six times going back to 2013.

In a statement released Wednesday by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, which helps spearhead the committee, the coalition wrote the proposed charter amendment “will drive away local jobs and opportunity, put a ‘closed for business’ sign on the city and [Mahoning] Valley, and could subject the city to costly lawsuits that taxpayers would have to fund.”

Some members of the coalition include Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, four city council members, the three county commissioners, Western Reserve Building and Construction Trades Council, Mahoning Trumbull AFL-CIO, Regional Chamber and Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel.

Early voting started April 10, so the board sent supplemental ballots starting Wednesday to the 1,085 people in Youngstown who have already voted. Also, starting Wednesday, all absentee ballots for Youngstown voters will include the anti-fracking charter initiative.

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