To the Editor: Charter amendment an invitation to litigation
Written by Brian Jaffee   
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 11:04
I am writing this letter to urge all Bowling Green residents to vote against the proposed charter amendment. This summer, I was approached at Grounds for Thought and asked if I was interested in signing a petition to ban the controversial "fracking" practice in Bowling Green.
As an environmentalist and environmental/energy lawyer, I figured this was a good enough idea and unfortunately signed the petition without the chance to read the actual proposed charter amendment.
After reading the proposed amendment, I wish I could take my signature back. Not because I suddenly became a supporter of the fossil fuel industry, but because this amendment is redundant, poorly written, and likely opens Bowling Green up to litigation.
The amendment itself is redundant, as the BG City Council has already passed an ordinance to ban the practice of fracking within the city, and as such the amendment is unnecessary.
Many of the protections that BG residents would receive if the amendment were passed already exist in the form of the federal Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and CERCLA. The language of the amendment is baffling - there is no clear objective, and not once does the amendment specifically ban the act of fracking.
The amendment is poorly written, evident by its overly broad language, and the only groups that will benefit from its passage are lawyers. It is not even clear that the proposed amendment is Constitutionally valid, specifically section i., part 5, which seeks to reverse or ignore U.S. and Ohio Supreme Court rulings.
All in all, the goals of a sustainable, clean energy future will not be furthered by the passage of the proposed charter amendment. As I stated at the beginning of this letter, I consider myself an environmentalist and support the objectives of clean energy and sustainability; however, the proposed charter amendment is not the way to attain these objectives.
Instead of writing and supporting a muddled charter amendment, supporters of clean energy and a sustainable future should focus on changing public policy at the state and federal level.
There are many nongovernmental organizations in Ohio (such as the Ohio Environmental Council) and nationally that are fighting hard for a sustainable, clean energy future, and those who support these goals should perhaps donate money or volunteer with these organizations instead of wasting time and money supporting a poorly written and unnecessary charter amendment.
Brian Jaffee
Bowling Green
 

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