Kent Councilwomen Support Issue 21

Not all city officials are against Issue 21 (Kent Community Bill of Rights). While we have some concerns about this imperfect charter amendment, we think there is more right than wrong with it in its intention. Kent’s Charter Commission will meet in 2015 and can recommend corrections if there is overreach as some have predicted. Our main reason for support is that this passage, coupled with the other Ohio and out-of-state communities that have bravely passed similar Bills of Rights, is a way to send a strong message to the Statehouse and federal government that we demand certain environmental protections and that the oil and gas industry should not be given special privileges above those of other industries. By speaking out, we are in a unique position to provide leadership for the region, while doing our best to protect the environment proactively within our city limits. Read the rest...

Oil Industry Spokesman Gets It Wrong About Local Fracking Ban

To the Editor: The comments by Shawn Bennett in a recent interview published in The Athens NEWS on Dec. 8 seriously misrepresent the problems and dangers that the fracking industry presents to the residents of Athens and neighboring counties. According to Mr. Bennett, Issue 7, which recently passed in the city of Athens by a 78 percent to 22 percent margin, represented an attempt by an out-of-state organization to interfere with local economic development. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Issue 7 was an attempt by local residents to prevent out-of-state industries from polluting our local environment. By Mr. Bennett’s own admission, there are no current plans for deep-shale fracking development in Athens County, because oil and gas extraction is not sufficiently profitable here. What the oil and gas industry is planning to do, however, is to turn Athens and neighboring counties into dumping grounds for fracking waste generated in other states. There are no economic benefits resulting from environmental contamination. The reason that our communities are being targeted for disposal of out-of-state waste is that our state laws allow the oil and gas industry to avoid federal EPA oversight and ignore regulations that they must comply with to dispose of fracking waste in other states. Thus, neighboring states where EPA regulations still apply find it cheaper and easier to send their fracking waste here. Read the rest...

County Citizens Need To Stand Up Against Pipelines

By Lisa Kochheiser To the Editor: I was present during the Nexus pipeline presentation to regional officials at Owens Community College last Wednesday, and was appalled by how the company considered a Toledo lawyer’s questions to be too hot to answer before our County Commissioners (see “Pipeline Firm Defends Process”). I wondered what they were trying to protect. Despite the for-public-good picture pipeline companies are portraying, they will turn Wood County into a sacrifice zone if we allow it. Rover (dual side-by-side pipes) and Nexus are already illegally using eminent domain bullying tactics to force relatively new experimental technology, an unprecedented 3 – 42″ high-pressure lines (1,400-1,500 psi), through our county. Just one 42″ pipeline accident would incinerate a minimum area 3,000′ wide. But there are no laws requiring that homes be spaced a safe distance away. What seems like a glaring oversight has actually been intentionally built into the system to allow companies to privatize the profits and socialize the losses to communities and landowners. It is theft of private property. Read the rest...