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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Editorial Rails Against Activists' Third Attempt to Pass Youngstown Fracking Ban

From the Youngstown Vindicator:
Nothing has changed on the legal front from last year when proponents of the anti-fracking amendment to the Youngstown Home Rule Charter twice failed to win voter approval. And yet, the misnamed Community Bill of Rights is back on the ballot in Youngstown in the May primary. 
We say misnamed because passage of the amendment will not give city government any of the rights detailed in the 1,300-word tome. It is unenforceable. The Ohio General Assembly has given the Ohio Department of Natural Resources sole authority to oversee the hydraulic fracturing process used to extract oil and gas from shale formations deep beneath the earth’s surface. 
The Legislature’s authority to act on issues of statewide importance is provided for in the Ohio Constitution and has been upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court. 
The proposed Youngstown charter amendment is designed to place the city outside the reach of either the Ohio Constitution or the U.S. Constitution. 
In order words, should city voters throw caution to the wind and approve the amendment May 6, it is a safe bet Youngstown will be in legal jeopardy if government attempts to enforce the provisions. It will be a costly proposition, one that the shrinking, fiscally challenged community can ill afford.
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