Youngstown voters rejected the anti-fracking Community Bill of Rights charter amendment for the fourth time since May 2013.
This vote marked the largest margin of defeat – 15.7 percentage points – since the measure was first put on the May 2013 ballot by the Community Bill of Rights Committee. The proposal would have banned fracking in Youngstown despite claims by opponents and state officials that the measure would be unenforceable because those decisions are made by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Supporters of the proposal told the Youngstown Vindicator that they will continue to place the proposed anti-fracking amendment on the ballot until it passes. “We don’t lose until we quit and we won’t quit because this is too important,” said committee member Susie Beiersdorfer.
Opponents of the proposal were understandably pleased with the result. “That is a very loud and clear message,” said Mike Chadsey, spokesman for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. “People are not buying the bait and switch, the fear tactics, the scare tactics. Any credibility [the Bill of Rights Committee] had is gone. It’s embarrassing for them.”
Butch Taylor, business manager for the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396, which opposed the proposal agreed that the voters again sent a resounding message to the Community Bill of Rights Committee. “This is a great margin of victory, and after the fourth time the message should be clear. Hopefully we can move on and work together for the positive things – safety, a clean environment and the opportunities for job creation.”