The Sin Tax extension and gubernatorial primary returns dominated much of Ohio’s headlines after Tuesday’s election. But as ideastream’s Joanna Richards reports, another attempt to ban fracking was also on the local ballot in a corner of “shale country.”
It was the third effort by fracking opponents to ban the practice in Youngstown. Like its predecessors over the past year, this measure, too, went down at the polls.
Despite another defeat, fracking opponents are optimistic. They point to a voter margin that has narrowed in their favor each time the ban has been on the ballot – from 13.7 percent last May, to 8.5 percent on Tuesday.
"We are, you know, gaining ground – through education, through more people understanding the dangers of fracking, who have experienced earthquakes," said Susie Beiersdorfer, with Frackfree Mahoning Valley.
Beiersdorfer says more money in the pro-fracking camp isn’t stopping a shift in public opinion. And she says three strikes won’t put her group out of the fight – voters are going to see a ban proposal on their ballots again soon.
But others say the argument should be over.
"The Youngstown citizens have voted this thing down 3 times," said Butch Taylor, with the local plumbers and pipefitters union. His group has led the charge against a fracking ban. He says voters’ priorities are clear.
"We’ve been decimated for the last 30 years. And we need to have a rebirth, a renaissance, as Cleveland did back in the mid ’80s. We need to redevelop our community, and part of that is a job growth opportunity."
Taylor says fracking is that opportunity.