|To the Editor: Charter amendment offers only true protection from fracking|
|Written by Lisa Kochheiser|
|Wednesday, 02 October 2013 09:08|
Contrary to what some city officials, local business organizations, and oil and gas interests would have us believe, BG must adopt the Charter Amendment to prohibit oil and gas (O&G) drilling within city limits.
BG citizens have been told that our geology is not right for dangerous processes such as fracking. Few would argue.
However, strong evidence suggests that there will be a resumption of oil and gas extraction in the BG area which likely will use destructive techniques such as fracking. Reports and articles about developments in technology and economics change the question from if local resource production occurs to when it occurs. We know oil exists underneath parts of BG, and O&G companies have been buying up mineral rights in this area for over a year. At a meeting held March 14, 2012 at Wood County Fairgrounds the director of Energy Services of the Ohio Farm Bureau coached 150-200 landowners on negotiating mineral rights deals with oil and gas companies.
Concerns such as these are compounded by the fact that no reliable law prohibits O&G drilling within BG. O&G is the only industry that enjoys numerous special exemptions at the state and federal levels leaving individuals and localities to seek protections on their own. Unfortunately, BG’s anti-fracking/injection well ordinance will not protect us. It can be quickly revoked by a vote of Council, or preempted by state law as soon as local pressure by the O&G industry begins.
Niles, Ohio serves as a warning to BG. Niles residents were initially told that their geology wasn’t right for resource development. Niles had no law prohibiting O&G drilling. This allowed oil and gas companies to quietly come in and make deals. In an emergency measure to prevent a well from being drilled next to a school, Niles residents found it necessary to ask City Council to quickly pass an ordinance to prohibit O&G activity within city limits. Council passed the ordinance in August 2013 only to revoke it on Sept.17 as a direct result of intense pressure by the O&G industry.
BG - don’t allow this to happen to us! We need real protection. Charter Amendments like BG’s have never been challenged in court, have never been preempted by the state, and cannot be revoked by City Council.
Nov. 5 — Vote Yes — Adopt the charter amendment!
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