I was sad to hear the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights was defeated again in the recent election. I have to tell you I wasn’t surprised. That is because I believe that money talks. The Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment spent $74,449 to defeat the amendment, which was a proposal to ban fracking inside Youngstown city limits. That amount equals out to $12.92 per person that voted against the amendment. By contrast FrackFree Mahoning Valley, the anti-fracking group that got the amendment on the ballot spent $693. They got more bang for the buck as that worked out to 15 cents per vote.
The Mahoning Valley Coalition got their member the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 396 to put up the money which was mostly used for attack ads. Butch Taylor the business manager for Local 396 like the Coalitions other member the Regional Chamber felt the passage of the amendment would discourage jobs in the oil/gas industry. Butch needs to read articles like this about the myth of the jobs being promised in the fracking industry. I would have thought Butch would have had to have held his nose tight to get in bed with the Regional Chamber who pushed hard to try to get SB5 passed into law. SB5 would have taken away bargaining rights for Ohio’s public sector unions. I say shame on the AFL-CIO and local Democrat politicians who ignored how the chamber attacked public sector unions and got in bed with the chamber anyway.
Butch went as far as attacking the amendment as a guest on the “Tracey and Friends” radio show on the day of the election. Tracey Winbush the host of the show is a member of the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment opposed to the fracking ban. Butch said in the Warren Tribune that the amendment to ban fracking was a “job killer.” FrackFree Mahoning Valley worked hard on the amendment because they fear that fracking can be a life killer. Mike Chadsey, director of public relations for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said that the amendment to ban fracking was “ceremonial” and wouldn’t hold up in court. If he really felt that way he should have told the pipefitters to save their $74,449.
I’m sure that if we had already had area problems from fracking the amendment to ban it would have brought out way more than 30% of Youngstown voters and easily passed. Say for instance we had a researcher show that the 13 area earthquakes we felt were really a small part of 167 earthquakes caused by one single area fracking wastewater well, during a single year of operation. What if we had a local company caught dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of fracking waste into the Mahoning River? What if a whole neighborhood of residents was suffering rashes and seizures from a fracking well near their homes? Surely, if something like that happened to neighbors in our valley politicians and government environmental agencies would help them. What if no politicians or agencies came to help them? What if the oil/gas companies had so much power they not only ignored the health problems of these area residents but built two more fracking wells nearby?
Would we tolerate bullies who would kick someone like these residents while they are already down? No, we are better than that! If any of these things would have happened 100% of Youngstown voters would have jammed the polling places and passed the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights. I believe area people would have felt protecting the planet and defending the weak against bullies was the moral or Christian thing to do. No Y-town ministers or priests from Youngstown’s Southside would ever be for ravaging God’s Earth and abusing our residents. I do believe sometimes it takes terrible things to happen to wake people up. I think it’s better to catch problems in the beginning instead of waiting until things are so bad that you have to jump up to reach the bottom. Had any of the above instances happened to put a bad light on the fracking industry I believe we would have run the frackers in our community out-of-town on logs. I also believe in fairy tales and unicorns.
Kasey Musgrave: “Merry Go ‘Round”
“The world is a wonderfully weird place, consensual reality is significantly flawed, no institution can be trusted, certainty is a mirage, security a delusion, and the tyranny of the dull mind forever threatens — but our lives are not as limited as we think they are, all things are possible, laughter is holier than piety, freedom is sweeter than fame, and in the end it’s love and love alone that really matters.”
― Tom Robbins