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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Board of Elections Votes Not to Send Youngstown Anti-Drilling Charter to Ballot for a Fifth Time

From the Youngstown Vindicator:
With the Mahoning County Board of Elections unanimously voting to keep a Youngstown anti-fracking charter amendment proposal off the Nov. 3 ballot, backers of the initiative are unsure of their next step. 
“There could be a challenge, but I don’t know yet,” said Susie Beiersdorfer, a member of FrackFree Mahoning Valley, the group that supported this proposal and four other similar anti-fracking initiatives. “This is uncharted territory.” 
During a Wednesday special meeting, the board voted 4-0 not to certify the proposal to the ballot. 
Board members said they largely based their decision on a Feb. 17 decision by the Ohio Supreme Court. That decision says the state constitution’s home-rule amendment doesn’t grant local governments the power to regulate oil and gas operations in their limits, and that Ohio law gives the state government – specifically the Department of Natural Resources – the exclusive authority to regulate oil and gas wells.
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FrackFree Mahoning Valley has been able to get the charter onto ballots four times before.  Each time it has been defeated by voters, but each time the group has vowed to keep coming back for as long as it takes.  It would seem to be a virtual guarantee that they will challenge this decision and fight to get the charter put to a vote again.

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