BG council passes anti-fracking ordinance, 7-0 PDF Print E-mail
Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor   
Monday, 16 September 2013 21:19
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It is now illegal to use hydraulic fracturing to drill for oil, gas or other minerals in Bowling Green.
City council Monday night unanimously approved an ordinance to prohibit hydraulic fracturing, adding an emergency clause that made the law effective as soon Mayor Richard Edwards signed the legislation.
Council spent about 15 minutes giving the ordinance its third reading and commenting on the proposal before its vote.
The ordinance also prohibits deep well storage of waste brine from fracking operations.
"I strongly endorse passage of this ordinance," Third Ward Council Member Michael Aspacher said. "It addresses the issue in a direct and open fashion. It leaves no room for interpretation." Aspacher urged residents to take the time to read both the ordinance and the proposed charter amendment. He said the ordinance is clear, the charter amendment is not.
Violation of the ordinance is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, with each day constituting a separate offense. First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of no more than $1,000, nor more than six months in jail for each conviction.
At-Large Council Member Robert McOmber said he believes Bowling Green will likely never face hydraulic fracturing because of the area's geology and acknowledged the ordinance probably wouldn't exist if it weren't for a charter amendment on the November ballot that purports to address this issue.
"Some have said this is a solution in search of a problem. We can pass this ordinance and wait and see. Eventually the Ohio Supreme Court will give us guidance," McOmber said.
City Attorney Michael Marsh has told council several times that Ohio law on fracking has trumped any action the city or voters may take.
First Ward Council Member Daniel Gordon said the ordinance is intended to protect the environment and the safety of the citizens. "Let's keep the green in Bowling Green. I fully support the right of citizens to petition and my vote on this is not telling people how to vote on the charter amendment."
At-Large Council Member Bruce Jeffers said he supported the ordinance and suggested someone from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources ought to be invited into the discussion on the issue.
Earlier in the meeting council listened to Broadview Heights resident Tish O'Dell read a statement about fracking experiences in that northeast Ohio community. She urged passage of the charter amendment on the November ballot. That community is awaiting a court ruling in a dispute over its fracking law.
Leslie Harper, Grand Rapids, a promoter of the charter amendment, told council the group said it was never their intention for the city to be seen by some as a "battleground." She offered to meet with groups such as the chamber of commerce and community development foundation to "build more consensus and understanding."
Council also:
• Learned the Transportation and Safety Committee will meet at 6 p.m. Oct. 7 to hear about regional traffic issues and the Community improvement Committee will meet Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. to discuss observations from a group of about 15 citizens that spent a day with Oxford, Ohio, officials in late August.
• Observed a moment of silence for Allen Baldwin, one of the last two survivors of the group that wrote the city's charter in 1972.
• Learned that Heidi Reger has added to the Historic Preservation Committee appointed last month by Mayor Richard Edwards.
• Heard that demolition of the water booster tower on Haskins Road north of the city will begin this week. Director of Utilities Brian O'Connell said the site has been dormant for several years. Once the city's new water tower planned for West Newton Road is completed in 2015, the Manville Avenue water tower will be demolished.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 10:41
 

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