YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – For the sixth time, voters will have a say on whether to ban oil and gas drilling in the city of Youngstown.
Those behind Frackfree Mahoning Valley say they have enough signatures to get the issue back on the ballot again. If the issue passes, it would stop hydraulic fracturing, injection wells and shale gas development within city limits.
Monday afternoon, Frackfree Mahoning Valley presented nearly 2,500 signatures to City Hall. They only needed 1,270 signatures. If verified, the signatures would beat the August deadline in plenty of time to be put on the ballot.
“In every city and every part of this state, if you allow fracking, you’re killing water, and if you’re killing water, it’s killing people. And we want everybody to be alive, healthy and safe,” said Rev. Young Tensley.
Three Ohio communities have already passed this type of legislation, and three more will consider it this fall, along with voters in four counties.
“You know, every time is different. And it’s really not about passing the Community Bill of Rights. It’s about raising awareness that citizens have the right to petition their government when their government is not taking care of them,” said Susie Beiersdorfer, a Community Bill of Rights committee member.
Ray Beiersdorfer, a backer of the initiative, said that the margin of defeat for the proposal had become narrower at each election, except for the initiative that was defeated by a margin of over 15 percent in November 2014.
“Over time, more and more people are getting educated,” Beiersdorfer said.
Voters in Youngstown already turned down the ban five times at the polls:
- November 2015 – Fifth time defeated
NO – 6,151 (51.25 percent)
YES – 5,852 (48.75 percent)
- November 2014 – Fourth time defeated
NO – 7,323 (57.68 percent)
YES – 5,373 (42.32 percent)
- May 2014 -Third time defeated
NO – 3,674 (54.24 percent)
YES – 3,100 (45.76 percent)
- November 2013 – Second time defeated
NO – 5,824 (54.66 percent)
YES – 4,831 (45.34 percent)
- May 2013 – First time defeated
NO – 3,837 (56.85 percent)
YES – 2,912 (43.15 percent)