News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Meaden & Moore

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Metro RTA


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Environment


Voters in some Ohio cities make another run at fracking restrictions
Environmentalists and other opponents hope to change things from the polls challenging state control
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Drilling rig in rural Carroll County
Courtesy of TIM RUDELL
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Voters in three northern Ohio cities will see “home rule” issues on Tuesday' ballots.  Home rule -- the right of local government to govern local matters -- has become a legal rallying point for “anti-fracking” activists trying to keep the controversial gas and oil drilling technology out of their communities.  WKSU' Tim Rudell reports,

Click to listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:45)


Hydraulic fracturing ban
Youngstown, Oberlin and Bowling Green have charter amendments on the ballot that, if passed, will create: ”within-city-limits” bans on fracking.

Who is in charge
But, if passed, they’ll also set up a head-on collision with the state over who’s the boss in oil and gas.  Current law says all power to oversee wells and such rests with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 

Stephen Brooks of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron says THAT is what has home rule advocates going to the voters. “We can frame it as environmental regulation, and that they want to be able to control the environmental quality of their communities.”

In May, after the defeat at the polls of a first attempt at n anti-fracking amendment in Youngstown, University of Akron constitutional law professor Paul Richert said the state took control of drilling quite a while ago; and well before modern fracking technology and the Utica Shale play. “The state felt, and this was back in the day 25  or 30 years ago, that it would be difficult for local government to know how to regulate. Some would over-regulate, some would under-regulate. So the General Assembly decided to take this over and put it in an agency that would be able to do this uniformly and do it across the state.”

Doing it all?
Stephen Books says the goal was effective safety and environmental oversight and economic development at the same time. He says the Utica Shale boom is now energizing continuation of that regulatory approach. “The practical argument for this is that it is difficult for business to, in each small community, meet their regulations. And therefor it assists business. And I think probably the Legislature would argue that isn’t an argument of no regulation. … We do have an organization that does regulate these, and therefore it is better, more efficient; and it also helps business in this economic development area that is very important to the state.”

But there is dissent. 
The City of Munroe Fall is an example.  It has its own regulations for drilling there.  They were challenged in court by a drilling company, and the legal back and forth over what is called “pre-emption” of regulations is now before the Ohio Supreme Court.

And then there are the three charter amendments up for a vote on the Tuesday.  Sean Kelly, Ohio counsel for the Community Environmental Defense Fund, has been traveling the state, advising those communities, and others, from Athens to Broadview Heights about that approach. He also advises them  that passing a local law will almost certainly not mean the state will accept the results.  “Charter amendment gives the city a much stronger home rule argument. That is a matter of self-government. The right to determine what goes on in your own back yard.  Now, I fully expect that if one of these charter amendments makes its way to the courts, we are going to have to fight a preemption battle. But that’s something we are prepared to do.”

No success yet
So far no local attempt to change the law governing drilling regulation has worked, and in several communities, including with that May 2013 election in Youngstown, voters defeated home rule decisively.  But political scientist  Brooks says winning at the polls is not always the point.  “One of the things that actions like this do is they provide a structured environment where the issue can be debated. It may win, or it may lose, but after this election, there are going to be a lot more people who know a lot more about this issue than if it was just demonstrations now and then and letters to the editor and that kind of thing.”

For this election:
another charter amendment was ruled off the ballot for the city of Athens at the beginning of October for technical reasons;  and a challenge to the new measure on the Youngstown ballot was withdrawn.  

Listener Comments:

Here's an idea to put on the ballot: You can't vote on fracking if you can't explain what fracking is.


Posted by: Anita Hardcock (Ohio) on November 1, 2013 4:11AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Farm-to-School: Cafeteria lunch is fresh and local at Tallmadge High School
Great job Tallmadge City Schools! So glad to have a progressive business manager and superintendant!

World premiere at Cleveland Institute of Music is fanfare for a new theme
J'ai une grande admiration pour Daniil Trifonov que j'ai vu en concert deux fois à Paris je ne lui trouve pas d'égal c'est un ange tombe du ciel

Kent's journalism school faculty protest presidential search secrecy
There really was too much secrecy behind the selection process. Hopefully the letter by the faculty members will convince the board to provide more information ...

Belgian cargo ship creates new export route between Antwerp and NEO
The vessel is registered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Not in Belgium ;)

Exploradio: Tracking Ohio's champion trees
Absolutely loved this story. We lost 3 of our larger ash trees last year due to EAB. Big, beautiful trees are something to be treasured, and many times they tru...

Ohio's rules on fracking and earthquakes are a first
I'm right in the middle of the issue. Like oil independence, but hope there is pre- and current-drilling assurance re dangers from pollution, earthquakes and th...

Bridgestone exec indictments are latest step in a billion-dollar price-fixing case
Why is O.P.E.C Not investigated and charges brought against it and it's member companies? It sounds exactly the same...

Ohio's new drilling rules rely on known earthquake faults
requiring drillers to place seismic monitors when they drill within 3 miles of known fault lines. This comment really upsets me!! What good does an instrument t...

Kasich's gubernatorial ad focuses on his blue-collar roots
John Kasich is the biggest con-man in America. He will say one thing and then do the opposite. He is terribly successful at fooling the public and he is worki...

Cab drivers who refuse to drive Gay Games taxis will be replaced
the irony is that most americans distrust or hate muslims much more than they hate gays!! silly ignorant bigots-GO HOME!!!

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University