The truth is most of the time David does not beat Goliath. This was the case in our local elections this past Tuesday. The citizen-organized anti-fracking charter amendment for Youngstown, Ohio was defeated 57 percent to 43 percent. The David in this case is the backers of the charter amendment, the Community Bill of Rights Committee. They had gotten the required number of signatures to get the issue on the ballot. The charter’s supporters were able to get the local media to hear the nightmare stories of residents from Weathersfield Township’s Westwood Mobile Home Park in Lordstown, Ohio. These residents live within a few hundred feet of an expansive drilling site in nearby Lordstown. They told of the burdens of living near a drilling site, things such as the noise, fumes, vibrations and bright lights that flood their property each night. Such warnings along with 13 earthquakes in 2011 by a local injection well used to dispose of the brine wastewater, a fracking by-product and the dumping of hundreds of thousands of gallons of fracking waste into the Mahoning River by a local company were not enough to convince voters of the dangers of fracking in Youngstown.
The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber formed a coalition of business, labor and community leaders who support the oil and gas industry in the Mahoning Valley and spoke out opposing the charter amendment. This group is the Goliath in our story and named the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment. Here are the members of that group. The ones I am not surprised to see as members are Tom Humphries, President & CEO of the Regional Chamber, Laura and Paul Lyden, Vice President of Lyden Oil, Jean Gaetano, Executive Administrator at V&M Star, Butch Taylor and Tim Manion of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 396 and Tracey Winbush, Radio talk show host, of Tracey and Friends. They all have something to gain from fracking except Tom Humphries and Tracey Winbush who are a couple of corporate tools who just like being on the wrong side of every issue. The ones I am saddened to see on the list besides Pipefitters Local 396 are Dave Betras, Chairman of the Mahoning County Democrats and Father Greg Maturi the Pastor at St. Dominic Church, Youngstown. The Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396 spent $58,300 in their effort to defeat the issue. Backers of the charter amendment, Community Bill of Rights Committee, spent $1,415 over the reporting cycle and had $3,043 to spend in the week leading to Election Day. In this era of “money talks” Goliath usually has the money and so, as in this case he gets the win.
I can’t say what the defeat of the Youngstown charter amendment means better than commenter Cubbies at Vindy.com. Cubbies: “It’s a sad day when the deep pockets of the gas/oil industry were able once again to convince the media and Joe Public to buy another pig in the poke by convincing them that jobs and money will come to the poor in Y-town by supporting fracking. When the money rolls in to help the poor and clean up Youngstown’s blight, please wake me up. I’m not expecting a wake-up call.” Then we have Enigma who said, “Capitalism always wins out over consumer and employee protection. Just ask Bangladesh.” When the story of the troubles the Weathersfield Township’s Westwood Mobile Home Park was having with fracking appeared in the Warren Tribune I noted what a commenter to Trib.com said. Youngstownsteelman said: “Temporary inconveniences to secure our nation’s energy needs. Suck it up. ” Conservatives like youngstownsteelman actually fell for that meeting our nation’s energy independence oil & gas corporation B.S. The truth is this gas is going to Asia and India. Meeting our nation’s energy needs indeed.
The local buffoon of the week is Warren Tribune Community Columnist Martha Yoder. Ms. Yoder wrote a column entitled, “Fracking, all it’s cracked up to be.” Yoder points out one of the most widely used common chemicals for hydraulic fracturing is guar gum, which is actually found in ice cream. She conveniently left out the other 749 chemicals. Twenty-nine of those chemicals are known cancer causing carcinogens and thirty-seven percent have been identified as endocrinedisruptors. Exposure to endocrinedisrupting chemicals has been implicated in cancers of the breast, prostate, pituitary, testicle, and ovary. Recognized carcinogens are used in one of every three hydraulic fracturing operations across the nation—according to industry self-reporting. The number one most used fracturing chemical is methanol which is highly toxic to humans. Other chemicals are ethylene glycol which is used in antifreeze, mercury, lead, uranium, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, benzene, diesel fuel, hydrogen fluoride, sulfuric acid, naphthalene, crystalline silica etc. Perhaps Ms.Yoder would suggest Handel’s Ice Cream start selling ice cream flavors like; Uranium Raisin Rum, Mercury Maple, Benzeneberry, Formaldehyde Fudge Ripple, Lemonylead, Methanol Mint, and Diesel Fuel Mocha Almond. They could be marketed as the conservative anti-environmentalist gas well huggers flavors to die for.
The biggest local losers of the week are the 82% of registered Trumbull County voters and 83% of registered Mahoning County voters that decided to leave the election up to 16-17% of their fellow voters. I guess David only defeats Goliath in the Bible. I had someone tell me the election showed that God was on the side of the fracking companies. This is exactly what I thought I’d hear from this guy who only worships money. My God sent warning about the dangers of frackering in the form of 13 earthquakes and thousands of gallons of fracking waste to pollute the Mahoning River. In the end 57% of the voters didn’t heed his warning and 83% of the registered voters were too stupid or lazy to vote. At least that is the way I see it. I want to thank the Community Bill of Rights Committee, Frackfree Mahoning Valley and all of the fractivists in our community for being the Davids. In the long run I believe you will be shown to be right but I hope our community does not pay a big toll for the lesson.
Happy Mothers Day!
Grass: “Frack Off”
ben-ulric: “Fracking Blues”
“Nature shrinks as capital grows. The growth of the market cannot solve the very crisis it creates.”
― Vandana Shiva, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis