As if persistence doesn’t pay off, for the second year in a row, fracking will be on the November 8th ballot. There will be a charter amendment up for vote, and if passed, the Columbus “Community Bill of Rights” Fracking Ban Initiative will allow the following
- the right of the city residents to self-governance,
- the right to a clean, pure, and safe environment,
- the right of natural communities and ecosystems to exist and flourish
- the right to a sustainable energy future
The first attempt to get this Amendment on the ballot in 2015 was unsuccessful. The petitioners did not meet the minimum requirement of 8,956 valid signatures. This year’s amendment would prohibit any new oil and gas extraction activity in the city, including through permits or licenses from even state entities.
This issue has already had its time in the Ohio Supreme Court. In February 2015, the Courts ruled that local zoning laws couldn’t be used to prohibit fracking or otherwise “circumvent the state’s authority over oil and gas drilling.
This was the aftermath of a lawsuit filed by the city of Munroe Falls, after Beck Energy Corp was granted a permit by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to drill for oil. The city of Munroe Falls was infuriated stating that “the permit violated local zoning ordinances”. It doesn’t seem as if the citizens of Columbus deem this initiative a necessity, as the initiative failed to make it on the ballot in 2015.
We’ll see what happens in November