Proposed charter aims to address pipeline projects in Medina County

Filed on April 18, 2015 by Scott Kline A group of Medina County residents are hoping to make it the first in the state to create a new county charter through a ballot initiative. Sustainable Medina County is launching a petition campaign to create a charter that would include a community bill of rights aimed at preventing projects such as the proposed 36-inch NEXUS gas pipeline to be constructed across 20 miles in Medina County. Read the rest here....

Group Wants Charter Government For Athens County To Fight Fracking

Sara Brumfield – Athens Messenger staff reporter Athens, OH Updated Thu, Apr 23, 2015 10:28 am The group that got Athens city voters to pass a citizen’s bill of rights to restrict fracking and associated practices within the city limits is now turning its attention to the entire county. The Athens Bill of Rights Committee is attempting to turn Athens County into a charter form of government in order to keep fracking and injection wells out of the county. The issue is slated to go before county voters in the November general election. The group is aiming to gather 2,000 signatures by June 24 in order to get the issue on the fall ballot. Read rest of article...

Mothers Against Drilling protests court decision outside Broadview Heights City Hall

See original article here. BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio — About a dozen demonstrators milled outside the Broadview Heights City Hall Monday night, holding up signs that read “Ban Fracking Now” and “Communities Not Corporations” to protest oil and gas drilling in Broadview Heights. Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael K. Astrab last month overturned Broadview Heights voter-approved oil and gas drilling ban, citing state law which gives Ohio the “sole and exclusive authority” to permit, locate, space and regulate oil and gas wells.” A mix of exasperated neighbors and students from Oberlin College turned out to protest the decision, as well as a February Ohio Supreme Court decision against the city of Munroe Falls, which found Beck Energy Corp. must follow only state rules. Protestors, including members of Mothers Against Drilling in Our Neighborhood, chitchatted worriedly about how a new wave of drilling could affect their community, while waving posters at passing cars. Many attended the City Council meeting in the evening to vent frustration over the judge’s ruling. Mothers Against Drilling filed an additional lawsuit in December to fight drilling in Broadview Heights. Cindy Bujackowski, who has lived in Broadview Heights for 30 years, recalled when the drilling equipment rolled in a few houses down. “There’s no business for manufacturing to be in a suburban neighborhood area — near housing, near playgrounds and near ball fields,” she said. Bujackowski remembered the constant noise and the spotlights outside for nearly a week. It got so loud that she couldn’t hear her doorbell, or sit outside and enjoy a sunny evening. “If we sat on our deck we couldn’t hear each other talk,”...

The Fracking Debate: How Communities Are Trying to Control Drilling

by Sara Dorn GATES MILLS, Ohio — Gates Mills residents are joining what’s become a nationwide movement and petitioning to have a bill of rights placed on the November ballot that would attempt to ban more oil and gas wells.  The state has exclusive rights to regulate oil and gas drilling, so Mayor Shawn Riley believes local legislation — like a bill of rights — would have little to no effect. Instead, Riley wants property owners to pool their land, decide if and where hydraulic fracturing will be located in the village, and split the royalties. The Citizens for the Preservation of Gates Mills worries Riley’s initiative sets the table for oil and gas companies. Here’s how other communities are trying to control drilling in their towns: Broadview Heights: The city is facing a lawsuit from Bass Energy Co. Inc. and Ohio Valley Energy after voters passed a bill of rights in November 2012 banning oil and gas drilling there. In May 2013, two residents sued Bass as it made plans to drill near their street. The city of Broadview Heights backed the residents, while the Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued permits to the company anyway. The companies sued the city in June and said the Community Bill of Rights denies them use of property and violates the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions. Mothers Against Drilling in Our Neighborhoods (MADION), the organization that initiated the Broadview Heights bill of rights, filed a motion in July to intervene in the case. MADION’s leader, Tish O’Dell, is also the Ohio organizer for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which is helping the Gates Mills residents...

Activists Want Columbus to Have Environmental ‘Bill of Rights’

by Laura Arenschield No one is fracking in Columbus, and no one is injecting fracking wastewater into the ground here. But some grass-roots environmental activists are taking no chances. A group is collecting signatures to get a Community Bill of Rights on the Columbus ballot in May. If it passes, the bill would change Columbus’ city charter to block activities that could pollute drinking water and air. It’s a legal tactic that some communities across the nation have used to block fracking and other work that affects the environment. In Ohio, similar bills have passed in Broadview Heights and Oberlin and failed three times in Youngstown. Kent voters will decide the fate of one in November, and Athens activists are trying to get one on the ballot in May. Carolyn Harding, the organizer behind the Columbus Bill of Rights, said she’s primarily concerned about injection wells. To pull oil and natural gas from shale, companies drill vertically and then turn sideways into the rock. Then they blast millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals into the shafts to free trapped oil and gas in the process called fracking. During the process, fluids bubble back up to the surface with the gas. Fracking chemicals include ethylene glycol, which can damage kidneys; formaldehyde, a known cancer risk; and naphthalene, considered a possible carcinogen. The waste that bubbles up also includes radioactive material. According to the government, at least 2 billion gallons of wastewater are injected every day into wells throughout the country. About 200 injection wells operate in Ohio, including one in Delaware County, seven in Pickaway County and more...

November Ballots in Ohio to Include Record Number of Initiatives to Ban Fracking

On Election Day, four Ohio cities will vote on ballot initiatives that would empower their citizens to ban fracking activities within their city limits: Kent, Youngstown, Gates Mills and Athens. Drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), these Community Bill of Rights initiatives would codify community rights to self-governance and a healthy environment. Voters in Yellow Springs, Mansfield, Oberlin, and Broadview Heights passed similar city ordinances in the last two years. “For too long, the State of Ohio and the oil and gas industry have worked hand-in-hand to strip communities of their right to protect themselves and the environment,” said Tish O’Dell, CELDF Ohio organizer. Ohio communities are no longer willing to accept a legal system which forces fracking into communities.” Read the rest...