Letter: Fracking Defense up to Citizens
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Small but growing groups of polite, average people are announcing to their local officials that a major problem has developed and would they please do something about it.
While we, the people, request protection from the horizontal hydrofracking devestation affecting so many communities, municipal governments prefer obedience to the state and federal laws they are sworn to uphold and that actually prevent them from protecting us. But they are also sworn to uphold the health, safety, and welfare of the residents who elected them. What a curious conflict. Just who has the power? Well, clearly it's not we, the people, but it's supposed to be. The Ohio constitution says so.
City Councils and Township Trustees above the Marcellus and Utica shale formations are bearing the brunt of legislation crafted by state and federal governments at the behest of fossil energy industries. And they are not amused. This issue takes a lot of their time and they're already fully busy people. Kent's City Council members are annoyed at what has befallen them. This is not what they signed up for. Randolph Trustees have received a resolution by a grassroots group. Shalersville Trustees are aware that they will receive a resolution soon. Ohio cities and townships too numerous to list have passed resolutions in support of a statewide moratorium.
People who would never in a million years think of themselves as political activists are up to their elbows reinventing the wheel of community organizing in Portage County. It's the common people saying to the fossil fuel bully, "No, you are not going to do horizontal fracking here." And yet, while local officials are loathe to stand up to the state, without them, we, the people, don't seem to matter very much in this high-stakes predicament.
On April 4, 2012, Kent City Council gave itself four months to study, reflect and discuss horizontal hydrofracking with other municipal officials in response to a Community Bill of Rights Ordinance presented to them on March 28, 2012 by Concerned Citizens Ohio.
On April 19, 2012, Council amended the motion changing the four months to two.
On April 26, 2012, a meeting for local elected officials with Doug Shields, former Pittsburg councilman involved with the rights-based ban on fracking there, was held in Akron. All Kent council members, plus the mayor, law director, and city manager were invited and not one of them went. A perfect opportunity to learn and discuss, missed. The Shalersville trustees were also invited, in order to be prepared for the resolution to ban fracking they will receive on May 15. They too did not attend. The biggest threat to our area in decades and our officials can't find out how other officials are coping?
Two retired teachers are offering workshops on the various ordinances and resolutions presented to local municipalities this spring with the emphasis on human rights and democracy. They will be free and non-political. The first one will be at the Kent Free Library, 333 W. Main St., Thursday, May 10 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Two more will be offered at Reed Memorial Library, 167 E. Main, Ravenna, OH, on two Tuesdays, May 29 and June 5, both from 6 to 8 p.m. It's time to learn what we, the citizens, can and cannot do. To register call Mary Greer, 330-626-5223, as space is limited.