On November 30th, Ohio's first natural gas conference was met with determination and resistance: close to 200 concerned citizens marched in the streets of Youngstown, rallied outside of the industry conference, and exposed fracking in Ohio for the 'State of Emergency' it really is. Simultaneously and nearby, a group of activists shut down a fracking-waste injection well by successfully blockading the entrance gates, despite blatant industry aggression and intimidation as brine trucks pushed into the peaceful blockade.
These actions were designed to call attention to Y.O.U.N.G- an industry conference focused on developing the Utica shale, which covers 2/3 of our state and is speculated to be one of the most productive in the country. While this was amongst the first industry conferences in our state, it was unfortunately not the first time the industry had been in and out of Ohio: in the last year alone our state has gone from 4 to 86 permitted horizontal hydraulically-fractured wells, with many of those permit applications submitted at 9am and approved by 5pm the same day. Simultaneously, many of our counties have now recorded over 1000% increases in gas leasing- like in Athens County, where a gas company has announced plans to lease and potentially drill over a third of the entire county (100,000 of 300,000 acres). The gas industry is trying to take over our state, but as leases are being signed, well pads are being built at an alarming rate, and fracking waste injection wells are taking on more and more toxic fluid, a growing movement is confronting the industry and exposing the true 'State of Emergency' in Ohio.
Thus, on November 30th, close to 200 concerned community members and students met the industry in Youngstown and hosted a counter-event offering information on the realities of fracking- the toxic risks, the industry hazards, and the false claims of job creation. After a presentation and resource sharing meeting, folks hit the streets and made some noise by marching to the industry conference and hosting a rally nearby. The rally featured speakers from impacted communities, legislative champions supporting local rights-based bans, and inspiring organizers working to stop the industry. Afterwards, the afternoon wrapped up with a reception and community networking opportunity.
Simultaneously, a group of youth, students, and community members risked arrest by blockading the entrance gates to a fracking-waste injection well located less than two miles from the conference. The group successfully shut down operations by preventing brine trucks from entering or exiting the facilities, and stood their ground despite blatant industry aggression and intimidation. The injection site is used as a place to dump leftover fracking fluids from wells across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, and has recently been linked to several earthquakes in the Youngstown area, causing huge concern for local residents. Check out the video to see more!
For more information on the anti-fracking movement in Ohio, visit: http://www.nofrackohio.com/
And to contribute to a bail fund for the activists who risked arrest, please visit: http://ohiofracktion.wordpress.com/