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Coalition again calls on city residents to vote no on anti-fracking in Youngstown

Coalition again calls on city residents to vote no on anti-fracking in Youngstown


A group of business, labor, political and religious leaders is again calling for Youngstown residents to vote against the so-called “Community Bill of Rights” charter-amendment proposal – and not just because of its fracking ban.

Members of the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth said at a Tuesday news conference at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 377 at 1223 Teamsters Drive that the ballot language gives people the authority to file lawsuits against anyone they believe is violating their rights to clean air and water.

Mayor John A. McNally, a member of the coalition, said the “well-intentioned people” behind the anti-fracking proposal – which has failed five previous times – are “trying to outlaw what is already legal and out of local control.”

Fracking is regulated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Rocky DiGennaro, president of the Western Reserve Building and Construction Trade Council and coalition member, said, “If this destructive bill passes, it will devastate our local contractors and local [union] members.”

But Susie Beiersdorfer, a member of the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights committee and Frackfree Mahoning Valley, which are backing the issue, said it strengthens people’s rights to drink clean water, breathe clean air and to self-govern.

“We have the right to alter, reform or abolish our government,” she said.

In addition to banning fracking – none of which exists in the city – the proposal makes it illegal for any government or corporation to engage in the “depositing, disposal, storage and transportation of water or chemicals to be used in the extraction of oil and gas, and the disposal or processing of waste products from the extraction of oil and gas,” according to ballot language.

But the proposal doesn’t prohibit the manufacturing, production, sale or distribution of materials and components used in fracking as long as the materials and components aren’t used in Youngstown.

Thomas Humphries, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber’s president and chief executive officer, and a coalition member, said, “If someone puts in a footer to start a building, [someone would] have the right to say that footer impacts the environment and can challenge it in court. It’s not good for business and the public.”

Beiersdorfer said of Humphries’ statement: “That is propaganda.”

This is the sixth time the proposal has been in front of city voters. It failed twice in both 2013 and 2014, and in the November 2015 election. The ballot issue lost by only 2.46 percentage points the last time it was on the ballot.

McNally said, “This could again be a close issue.”

John Williams, who was outside the Teamsters hall in support of the charter amendment, said if it fails in November, “we’ll be back and back and back. [The other ballot initiatives] keep fracking out. It’s kept Youngstown free of fracking.”


Published: Wed, September 14, 2016 @ 12:12 a.m.By David



from Frack Free Mahoning County:

Frackfree Mahoning Valley (FMV) is calling for Ohio Governor John Kasich and ODNR Chief Simmers to immediately halt three fracking waste injection well sites near family homes, a “high hazard” dam, an airport, businesses, or schools.  FMV says the injection wells are too close to areas of known seismic activity where man-made earthquakes have already occurred.

FMV will hold a press conference on Friday, August 12, 2016, at 1:15 PM Eastern time, in Youngstown, Ohio, on the public sidewalk in front of Youngstown, Ohio City Hall at Boardman and Phelps Streets.
Geology Professor, Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer, will speak about man-made earthquakes (induced seismicity) and fracking waste injection wells and answer any media questions.
All media are invited to attend.

This injection well site is way too near a family home and an airport in Vienna, Ohio. This site is too close to areas of known, man-made injection well–related and fracking earthquakes in the region. Frackfree Mahoning Valley is calling for Ohio Governor John Kasich and ODNR Chief Simmers to protect the public health and safety of the Vienna and surrounding communities by immediately halting plans to allow what FMV believes to be ultrahazardous, heavy industrial injection well operations in this community that already has experienced an injection well-related spill in 2015.[1] FMV says permitting injection at this site will increase the risk of induced seismicity. Earthquakes cannot be regulated, says FMV.
Youngstown, Ohio, August 11, 2016 –  Frackfree Mahoning Valley (FMV) is calling for Ohio Governor John Kasich and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Chief Simmers to immediately halt three local injection well sites in order to protect public health, safety, and well-being and to decrease the risk of more man-made earthquakes and risks to drinking water that can result from injection well operations.
        FMV will hold a press conference on Friday, August 12, 2016 at 1:15 PM in front of Youngstown, Ohio City Hall on the public sidewalk at Boardman and Phelps streets. Geologist Ray Beiersdorfer, Ph.D., Professor of Geology at Youngstown State University, will speak about updated information regarding injection wells, fracking, and man-made earthquakes (induced seismicity).  He will address any media questions.  All media are invited to attend.
       Based upon scientific studies and past experience with the Youngstown magnitude 4.0 earthquake episode and other nearby induced seismicity,  FMV believes that potentially damaging man-made earthquakes could occur if fluid waste injection proceeds at the three injection well sites since we are in an area of known seismic activity.

       Although Frackfree Mahoning Valley wants all waste injection to stop,  the group’s current focus is on the following  three northeastern Ohio injection well sites where injection could occur if permitted by ODNR Chief Simmers:   Vienna, Ohio; Weathersfield/ Niles, Ohio; and Coitsville, Ohio.

       Especially concerning is the Weathersfield/Niles AWMS injection well site, as American Water Management Services (AWMS) has apparently appealed ODNR’s closing of the deeper well due to ODNR’s concerns about public health and safety of the local community.  
       ODNR had stopped operations at the deeper of two wells there due to earthquakes that scientists linked to the deeper injection well.[2] This was the correct and moral decision by ODNR.[3]  FMV is urging ODNR to stand their ground in court by upholding their correct and just decision and keep the AWMS well closed down to protect the public health and safety of the community and region.
        A shallower AWMS well is still permitted to operate, but is not operational at this time as far as FMV knows. FMV urges ODNR to close both wells due to an unacceptable level of seismic risk.
       There is a federally listed “high hazard” dam a few miles away (about 2.73 miles) from the AWMS injection well site that already has been linked to man-made earthquakes (induced seismicity). FMV says the injection well operation should remain closed, partly because more potential induced earthquakes could be an unacceptable risk to the dam.
       According to the Vindicator regarding Meander Dam, “The federal government lists the dam as ‘high hazard’ – not because of any flaws in the structure that undergoes daily safety inspections.  It is so listed because of the likely massive loss of human life that could occur should it ever face a catastrophic collapse. “[4]
       FMV recently discovered an article linking to a study by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers that recommended, in relation to the Joe Pool Dam, in Texas, that injection be prevented within five miles of the dam.  According to the “Memorandum for Record,” attached to the study contracted by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, “… As a result, USACE has adopted a 4,000 – foot exclusion zone at Joe Pool Dam within which no drilling will be allowed, regardless of depth.  Additionally, in order to protect the project from induced seismicity, USACE will work to limit injection wells within five miles of the Joe Pool project.  These recommendations are more conservative than the subject study recommends; however, they are considered necessary to ensure that public safety is not reduced as a result of minerals related activities at Joe Pool.” [5]
       FMV intends to attend a public informational meeting in Lowellville, Ohio next week to present their concerns in person to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ Pittsburgh District.

       In Vienna the well is very near a family home and way too close to the airport.   ODNR’s suggestion that they will take action if seismic activity is detected by monitors is not good enough to protect the community.  Any potential quakes must be prevented in the first place. Once the fault is destabilized, the harm cannot be undone.   Does the current operation have lightning protection?  Even if it does, it still must be stopped due to being located close to an area of known seismic activity.

       The Coitsville injection well is being plugged back presumably to be put into operation in the future.  It is also too close to the Khalil injection well for which ODNR set a precedent by denying a permit to inject since it is too close to areas of known seismic activity, including the site of the New Year’s Eve 2011 magnitude 4.0 quake.  A Frackfree Mahoning Valley July 11, 2016 news release contains many links to background information on the Coitsville and local injection well situations and can be found here:

       FMV respectfully urges Governor Kasich and ODNR Chief Simmers to please review the latter link and this press release. The only effective solution to protect the public interest is to stop the injection operations at Vienna, Coitsville, and Weathersfield/Niles.
        FMV urges ODNR to:  deny the injection permit for the Vienna well owned by the Oklahoma company, or revoke it if it is already issued; revoke the Coitsville injection well permit;  and we hope ODNR stands their ground and continues to do the right thing by refusing the permit to inject at the Weathersfield/Niles AWMS site.  It is the right thing to do.

       There is no good solution to the problem of the constant creation of millions of gallons of waste fluid.  Where will it all go? Ohio, or any area, cannot be used as a dumping ground for fracking waste or any kind of waste. We are not a sacrifice zone.   The public health, safety, and well-being must be protected.
       Thank you to Teresa Mills of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) for her research and concepts used in this release.

       For more information, please see:
Frackfree Mahoning Valley:
       For media inquiries or more information, please contact Frackfree Mahoning Valley at:
234-201-0402   or  e-mail:

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