The taxpayers of Youngstown, Ohio, are once again being forced to foot the bill for a ballot measure that would ban fracking in the community, despite voting against the measure seven times previously. And the activists behind this movement have made it clear that they simply don’t care.
Thomas Lindsey, the co-founder of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) – the out-of-state activist group that has repeatedly tried and failed to pass a ballot measure that would ban fracking and all fossil fuel-related activity in Youngstown – has stated that he doesn’t mind bankrupting communities as a means to an end in advancing CELDF’s agenda.
“And if a town goes bankrupt trying to defend one of our ordinances, well, perhaps that’s exactly what is needed to trigger a national movement.”
And apparently, one of the primary activists behind the seven-times defeated CELDF-backed “Community Bill of Rights” efforts in Youngstown feels the same way.
EID caught up with activist Susie Beiersdorfer at Gasland Director Josh Fox’s “The Truth Has Changed” promotional event earlier this month at Youngstown State University and asked her point-blank how many times she would be willing push a ballot initiative that has already cost taxpayers more than $100,000.
EID: “Eighth time a charm this year?”
Beiersdorfer: “You know what, eight on its side is infinity.”
EID: “Eight on its side is infinity. Are you ready to go infinity times?”
Beiersdorfer: “You know what, we don’t lose until we quit…”
EID: “So even though that may come at the expense of infinity tax dollars?
Beiersdorfer: “We’ve had over $500,000 spent against us, all the community leaders are against us…
EID: “But that’s from private groups, this is public taxpayer dollars that are being put up every time we go through this…”
Beiersdorfer: “For what? What are taxpayer dollars being put up for? … To advertise in the Vindicator. You know what, Energy In Depth lied on that – that’s a lie.”
It isn’t, though, and Beiersdorfer feigning ignorance won’t change that fact. If anything, the cost to Youngstown’s taxpayers has been far more than $100,000. And what is even more certain is that Beiersdorfer and company don’t mind seeing that figure balloon even more. Back in May, Beiersdorfer echoed the above comments to EID when she told the Youngstown Vindicator:
“It’s not like we’re going to stop. Our motto is we don’t lose until we quit.”
Beiersdorfer has also stated that the ultimate goal of this effort is to kill jobs and push industries she and her fellow “Keep It In the Ground” cohorts don’t like out of the Mahoning Valley. If you have any doubts about how serious Youngstown’s small, yet vocal, anti-fracking movement is about pushing this thoroughly rejected agenda to infinity and beyond, check out this video of a local media interview with a member of Frack Free Mahoning Valley:
What makes this rhetoric all the more troubling is the fact that these folks not only want to ban fracking, but all industries they don’t like. In fact, CELDF and company literally want to take away all business and private property rights, period. As Linzey also recently stated:
“If you are going to put all that work into a ballot initiative, why not do a ballot initiative that bans all finance companies in New York City from funding new projects that exacerbate climate change? Why not do something real…why not do something real…cause people are saying to themselves, ‘it would be illegal, it would be unlawful, it would be unconstitutional, because you are taking their property’ well..(expletive), it’s time.”
Unfortunately for Youngstown’s taxpayers, it appears they will continue to have to pay for the actions of this fringe movement.