News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

The Holden Arboretum

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

Akron General


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Environment


Voters in some Ohio cities make another run at fracking restrictions
Environmentalists and other opponents hope to change things from the polls challenging state control
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Drilling rig in rural Carroll County
Courtesy of TIM RUDELL
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Voters in three northern Ohio cities will see “home rule” issues on Tuesday' ballots.  Home rule -- the right of local government to govern local matters -- has become a legal rallying point for “anti-fracking” activists trying to keep the controversial gas and oil drilling technology out of their communities.  WKSU' Tim Rudell reports,

Click to listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:45)


Hydraulic fracturing ban
Youngstown, Oberlin and Bowling Green have charter amendments on the ballot that, if passed, will create: ”within-city-limits” bans on fracking.

Who is in charge
But, if passed, they’ll also set up a head-on collision with the state over who’s the boss in oil and gas.  Current law says all power to oversee wells and such rests with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 

Stephen Brooks of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron says THAT is what has home rule advocates going to the voters. “We can frame it as environmental regulation, and that they want to be able to control the environmental quality of their communities.”

In May, after the defeat at the polls of a first attempt at n anti-fracking amendment in Youngstown, University of Akron constitutional law professor Paul Richert said the state took control of drilling quite a while ago; and well before modern fracking technology and the Utica Shale play. “The state felt, and this was back in the day 25  or 30 years ago, that it would be difficult for local government to know how to regulate. Some would over-regulate, some would under-regulate. So the General Assembly decided to take this over and put it in an agency that would be able to do this uniformly and do it across the state.”

Doing it all?
Stephen Books says the goal was effective safety and environmental oversight and economic development at the same time. He says the Utica Shale boom is now energizing continuation of that regulatory approach. “The practical argument for this is that it is difficult for business to, in each small community, meet their regulations. And therefor it assists business. And I think probably the Legislature would argue that isn’t an argument of no regulation. … We do have an organization that does regulate these, and therefore it is better, more efficient; and it also helps business in this economic development area that is very important to the state.”

But there is dissent. 
The City of Munroe Fall is an example.  It has its own regulations for drilling there.  They were challenged in court by a drilling company, and the legal back and forth over what is called “pre-emption” of regulations is now before the Ohio Supreme Court.

And then there are the three charter amendments up for a vote on the Tuesday.  Sean Kelly, Ohio counsel for the Community Environmental Defense Fund, has been traveling the state, advising those communities, and others, from Athens to Broadview Heights about that approach. He also advises them  that passing a local law will almost certainly not mean the state will accept the results.  “Charter amendment gives the city a much stronger home rule argument. That is a matter of self-government. The right to determine what goes on in your own back yard.  Now, I fully expect that if one of these charter amendments makes its way to the courts, we are going to have to fight a preemption battle. But that’s something we are prepared to do.”

No success yet
So far no local attempt to change the law governing drilling regulation has worked, and in several communities, including with that May 2013 election in Youngstown, voters defeated home rule decisively.  But political scientist  Brooks says winning at the polls is not always the point.  “One of the things that actions like this do is they provide a structured environment where the issue can be debated. It may win, or it may lose, but after this election, there are going to be a lot more people who know a lot more about this issue than if it was just demonstrations now and then and letters to the editor and that kind of thing.”

For this election:
another charter amendment was ruled off the ballot for the city of Athens at the beginning of October for technical reasons;  and a challenge to the new measure on the Youngstown ballot was withdrawn.  

Listener Comments:

Here's an idea to put on the ballot: You can't vote on fracking if you can't explain what fracking is.


Posted by: Anita Hardcock (Ohio) on November 1, 2013 4:11AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio to appeal ruling keeping Akron's red light cameras in place
I don't understand what all the fuss is about. If you don't like tickets drive the speed limit and stop at red lights. It's really all up to you.

Who's on public assistance in Ohio?
legalize marijuana get over it,,, its here its been the main drug test scare of a lifetime. u got people that get drunk every night and work u got peoples on ...

Letters from a lost friend: A Beachwood survivor's Holocaust remembrance
What a great story -- and how important it was for both Marlene and her mother to tell it! Thank you.

Ohio lawmaker calls for an East Cleveland bailout
Instead of blaming Kasich and the Republicans for all of East Cleveland's fiscal woes, take a look at the facts. Some political entities in Ohio are too small ...

Legalized marijuana is a boon for a Cleveland-area grow light maker
Shouldn't he be in jail for paraphernalia? He knows he is selling for marijuana production.

Akron city council to vote on resolution for hiring ex-offenders
Great as a taxpayer I paid for the police to catch them, the free lawyer, the jail to house them , the food their kids eat the medical for them and all its goin...

5 of 8 rule headed for a vote
this is just another way for kasich to pass the buck and claim that it gives the local districts control. Few schools have enough money because of his cuts. T...

A passionate debate about parole in Ohio
I was heartened to hear that the legislators will consider ANY legislation to break the chains the parole board has put on these old law offenders who have serv...

Bill would allow Ohio religious leaders to refuse to do gay marriages
This is just a lot of political posturing. The free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment already protects clergy from being forced by civil authorities to perfo...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University