Athens County Board of Elections Rejects Community Bill of Rights

It hasn’t been a good week for anti-fracking activists and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). Just a few days ago, CELDF suffered yet another court ruling against the so-called “Community Bill of Rights” to ban fracking. Today, the CELDF was dealt another blow, as the Athens County Board of Elections voted unanimously to reject the recent ballot initiative for a “bill of rights”, leaving anti-fracking groups devastated and calling the defeat a “travesty”.

As a reminder in Ohio, local controls have been rejected as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has been given sole regulatory authority over the oil and gas industry, per the Ohio Revised Code.

Despite the clear language of the petition, which states the exact opposite found in the CELDF authored charter amendment, the Athens News reported a community leader saying,

“I do not believe that enactment of this charter will allow the Board of County Commissioners to make sweeping changes on horizontal drilling, injection wells, Numbers Fest, or the use of eminent domain, as some may contemplate. The charter process allows a county to take or share power of a municipal corporation. To date, a charter has never taken authority from the state.”

While the anti-frackers may have a serious case of sour grapes, as result of their two recent defeats, the taxpayers of Athens County can breathe of sigh of relief that their county board of elections did their homework before casting their unanimous votes to keep this costly ballot initiative off November’s ballot.

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