Columbus Activists Try Again To Put Anti-Fracking Issue On Ballot
Activists in Columbus trying to stop fracking and related activities will submit more than 10 thousand petition signatures to the city clerk on Friday to try and get a ban onto the November ballot. It marks the second such attempt. Jim Letizia explains.
Last year, the group working to put the Columbus Community Bill of Rights on the November ballot lost their fight when they failed to collect enough valid petition signatures. Nearly 55 hundred of the more than 13 thousand signatures submitted were not valid. 89 hundred signatures needed to be valid to get the measure on the ballot. Activists at the time said they would try again this year. They want Columbus voters to approve a change to the municipal charter that mirrors bans approved in Mansfield and Broadview Heights. The measure would prohibit future oil and natural gas extraction within city limits and hold drillers working near the city liable for pollution crossing into Columbus. The group is supported by a national organization called Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which has helped get similar measures approved in other states. If voters approve this measure, it's not clear whether it would stand up to an expected legal challenge by oil and gas drillers and their supporters. Last year, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled local election boards and Secretary of State Jon Husted acted legally when they rejected proposed ballot measures in Athens, Meigs and Portage counties.