Medina County’s Community Rights Charter Campaign Launched

Community Rights County Charter Campaign Launched First County in Ohio to assert their right to local self-government through direct initiative   MEDIA RELEASE April 14, 2015 Contact: Tish O’Dell, Ohio Organizer 440-552-6774 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MEDINA COUNTY:  Yesterday, Community Rights expands in Ohio as residents of Medina County make history as the first County in the state to launch a community rights Charter campaign by direct initiative of the people. Medina County communities, like many other communities across the state, are slated for industrial pipelines that measure up to 42-inches in diameter and operate under high pressure. These pipelines threaten aquifers and drinking water sources, pollute the air through the release of methane and potentially the release of radioactive radon and other toxic gases, risk explosions, contaminate the soil, and threaten local ecosystems. When residents first learned of the pipelines and insisted that protecting the people’s health, safety, and welfare meant saying “NO” to them, they were told by government representatives and environmental agencies that there was “no way to stop them.” Thus, they contacted the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) for help. CELDF is providing grassroots organizing and education, and assisted in drafting the community rights Charter initiative. The Ohio Community Rights Network (OHCRN) is allying with CELDF and Medina County residents as well. The people of Medina County joined together to assert their right to govern themselves, and are seeking a County charter to secure and protect that right. The Charter includes a Bill of Rights for all people in the County, including the right to make the decisions about those things directly impacting... read more

Forum: Community Rights and Fracking in Broadview Heights

FRACKING And Broadview Hts BILL OF RIGHTS It’s time for an update.   The Brecksville / Broadview Hts Dems Club is sponsoring a public forum led by Tish O’Dell.  Tish will review *where we are on BOTH of these issues, *how we got where we are, *what we can do NOW! Jenni McMaster will also share with us the work she did on the Gates Mills Bill of Rights.   The public forum is being held TUESDAY April 28th from 7-8:30 at the North Royalton Public Library, 5071 Wallings Rd, North Royalton Ohio 44133. Join us for this very timely update.  FRACKING effects our health and property values.   When the Bill of Rights passed by voters in Broadview Hts. is ignored, our CITIZEN RIGHTS are all in jeopardy! Questions call Sharon 216-798-3990 or email... read more

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,”... read more

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... read more

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... read 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... read more

Rallying For Local Fracking Regulations

by Matthew Merchant With signs raised high and voices echoing, anti-fracking demonstrators rallied and marched from the streets of downtown Kent to Kent State’s campus Saturday to raise awareness for Issue 21, a proposed anti-fracking law on the Nov. 4 ballot. As part of the Global Frackdown, an international day of advocacy aimed at raising awareness of local fracking operations of oil and gas companies, the Kent Environmental Rights Group rallied, marched and painted the rock on front campus. Other events in Ohio included rallies locally in Lakewood and Ashtabula county, and globally in London, Paris, Madrid and other major cities. “How much longer are you, the resident of Kent, willing to wait? How much environmental harm and destruction of the community you love are you willing to sit back and watch and allow?” said Tish O’Dell, the Ohio community organizer for the Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. “Is this easy? No, and you’re finding that out. Will there be a price to pay for saving the world, for saving Kent? Absolutely.” CELDF has been supporting KERG since April when the local advocacy group was formed. KERG recently proposed an amendment to the City of Kent Charter that would ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, within city limits. The proposed amendment is on the Nov. 4 ballot as Issue 21. “(KERG) is as grassroots as it gets,” said Lee Brooker, a member of the group. “The industry is obviously well-monied, and we really need donations.” The protest march and rally, held in the gazebo area in Kent next to the Pufferbelly restaurant, was intended both to raise awareness for... read more

Forging a ‘Different Path,’ Communities Take Fracking Fight to the Ballot

by Andrea Germanos Environmental groups and concerned community members have taken to the streets in their fight to stop fracking—an extraction process they say threatens environmental and public health. But the issue has made its way to the ballot as well; in communities in California, Ohio and Texas, voters have a chance to enact fracking bans on November 4. “People are waking up to the risks,” Susie Beiersdorfer, a member of the bill of rights committee in Youngstown, Ohio and member of Frackfree Mahoning Valley, told Common Dreams. If enacted, the Community Bill of Rights, Issue 4 on Youngstown’s ballot, would prohibit unconventional oil and gas extraction methods including fracking. Hundreds of small earthquakes in the state have been linked to fracking—so it may be no surprise that Youngstown is just one of a handful of communities in Ohio with fracking bans on the ballot this November. Athens, Gates Mills and Kent join Youngstown with similar ballot measures. That makes a record number of municipalities in Ohio trying to enact Community Bills of Rights initiatives, says the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), which drafted the measures. “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. Ohio communities are no longer willing to accept a legal system which forces fracking into communities,” Tish O’Dell, CELDF’s Ohio Community Organizer, said in a press statement.   Read the rest... read more

Fracking Bans Pass in Denton, Texas, Two California Counties and One Ohio Town

With a record number of fracking issues on local ballots in California, Texas and Ohio, the outcome was decidedly mixed. Of the eight measures—three in California, four in Ohio and one in Texas—four passed and four failed. The biggest victory came in Denton in north Texas, located atop the lucrative Barnett shale play. After citizens demanded action from city council on a fracking ban and council punted last July, the issue went to the ballot where it passed last night. “As I have stated numerous times, the democratic process is alive and well in Denton,” said Denton mayor Chris Watts. “Hydraulic fracturing, as determined by our citizens, will be prohibited in the Denton city limits. The city council is committed to defending the ordinance and will exercise the legal remedies that are available to us should the ordinance be challenged.” Denton became the first city in Texas—a state where fracking has become big business—to pass such a ban, despite threats from the oil and gas industry to sue to overturn it. And it passed overwhelmingly, 59-41 percent, despite heavy spending by the industry.   Read the rest... read more

Disagreement On Legal Authority Complicates Local Fracking Bans

By Daniel Moore / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Last week in eastern Ohio, where natural gas production in the Utica Shale has been booming, voters in three towns rejected ballot proposals to ban hydraulic fracturing. While Athens overwhelmingly passed a fracking ban, Gates Mills, Kent and Youngstown voted down their measures. The ballot issues highlight the disparity in responses among local officials who are befuddled by the complicated legal baggage of prohibiting a practice that some say is solely regulated at a state level. Bans could legally embroil areas where drilling companies operate, especially with the Ohio Supreme Court soon to rule on the ability of local authorities to regulate fracking. Local authority to regulate fracking is a central issue in the case that the Ohio Supreme Court is reviewing: Munroe Falls v. Beck Energy. In 2011, a state court backed the town’s right to zone and issue permits to the oil and gas drilling company. An appellate court in February sided with the company. Oral arguments were heard by the state Supreme Court earlier this year. The Ohio Oil and Gas Association is closely watching for a decision, said spokeswoman Penny Siepel. “Once that court case is decided, I think it will probably help … reaffirm that the state ultimately has control over the oil and gas industry,” Ms. Seipel said. Shawn Bennett, senior vice president of the industry group, said his member companies answer solely to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. “These bans are, and will remain, without any teeth,” Mr. Bennett said. “When (companies) submit their permit, that permit will go to the division and the division... read more

Lowe-Volk Nature Center

Community Rights in Crawford County, OH

What’s Happening?

CELDF’s Tish O’Dell is speaking in Crawford County on the growing Community Rights Movement in Ohio. Fracking and its infrastructure are accelerating across the state, driven by the oil and gas industry, and Ohio communities have had enough.


Thursday, May 19 at 7:00 p.m.


Lowe-Volk Nature Center on SR 598 in Crawford County, in the Nature Center auditorium.

Join us!

For more information contact Michael Veloff at

Thomas Linzey Stops on the 2015

Ohio Community Rights Tour:


November 12, 2015    7:00 PM  Ohio Tour Youngstown

Youngstown, Youngstown State University

210 Lincoln Avenue, Cushwa Hall B100


November 13, 2015    7:00 – 9:00 PM   OhioRevolt Athens

Athens, Ohio University, Morton Hall (East Green)

Room 201


November 14, 2015    12:00 PM    OhioRevolt Oberlin LWV

Oberlin,  LWV Luncheon  ­ Oberlin Inn

7 N Main St, Oberlin, OH 44074


November 14, 2015     7:30 PM  OhioRevolt Oberlin College

Oberlin,  Oberlin College, Craig Lecture Hall

119 Wooldand Street Oberlin, OH  44074


November 15, 2015   1:30 PM   OhioRevolt Defiance

Defiance,  UAW Local 211 Union Hall

2120 Baltimore Street, Defiance, OH 43512


November 16, 2015    6:30 – 8:00 PM   OhioRevolt Bowling Green

Bowling Green, Bowling Green State University,

Olscamp Hall, Room 117


November 17, 2015     12:00 P.M.   OhioRevolt Columbus OSU

Columbus, The Ohio State University, Michael E. Moritz College of Law, William B. Saxbe Law Auditorium, Drinko Hall

55 W 12 Ave, Columbus, OH 43210


November 17, 2015     5:00 – 6:00 PM    OhioRevolt Columbus Capital

Columbus, Capital University Law School

303 E. Broad Street, Room A-122, Annex Columbus, Ohio, 43215.

Parking is available in the lot off Capital Street which is the entrance that everyone will need to use. The lot is attached to the building.