|Protesters want anti-fracking off ballot|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Tuesday, 10 September 2013 10:38|
Supporters of a charter amendment aimed at banning hydraulic fracturing in the City of Bowling Green have responded to a challenge to the ballot initiative.
Voters will decide in November the fate of an amendment to the city charter that is bring pushed as a way of keeping the gas drilling technology commonly called fracking from occurring in city limits.
An Ohio law firm Lavelle and Associates, on behalf of local resident John R. Kretzschmar, filed a protest seeking to have the charter amendment measure removed from the ballot.
The challenge contends the proposed amendment is not "valid and sufficient" because the city does not have control over the gas and oil industry.
Also, the protest contends much of the language in the initiative amounts to a public opinion poll without legal effect and as such does not belong on the ballot. Also, the language is misleading and confusing, they say.
According to the press release from the Bowling Green Community Bill of Rights Committee, backers of the charter amendment, the city "has the ability to amend its charter as a home rule city, and there is a constitutional right for city residents to be allowed to vote on such issues which have been passed by other Ohio cities."
Cleveland attorney Sean Kelley on behalf of five Bowling Green residents contends that the initiative does call for a number of specific actions, and does not simply ask for voters' opinions.
While admitting in an earlier case the Supreme Court upheld the Lake County Board of Elections' removal of such an initiative from the ballot, since then other initiatives have weathered similar challenges.
The initiative supporters maintain in their filing that it is beyond the purview of the Board of Elections to decide the matter.
"The Board's sole authority is to perform the ministerial duty of determining the sufficiency and validity of the signatures."
Amendment supporters say the Athens law firm has also filed protests of ballot initiatives in Athens and Youngstown.
A hearing on the protest will be held Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in the Commissioner's Hearing Room on the fifth floor of the Wood County office building.
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