Without the science on their side, anti-fracking activists have often resorted to engaging in outrageous stunts – but the spectacle they created outside the Cuyahoga County courthouse this week perhaps takes the cake.
A group of ban-fracking activists from the Ohio Community Rights Network, led by Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) Ohio organizer Tish O’Dell, put on a performance of what they called the “real life David versus Goliath tale.”
Of course, the activists are again seeking to appeal the Broadview Heights decision on local control after a Cuyahoga County judge ruled last year that the Broadview Heights drilling ban clearly conflicts with Ohio’s oil and gas law. Under state law, the regulation of oil and gas development exclusively belongs to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
While the legal merits of the matter were deliberated inside the courtroom, these activists clearly had nothing better to do with their time, than to throw paper mâché “rocks” at each other as they acted out a scene from their dramatization “The People vs. The Corporate State.” Take a look at the video, and try not to laugh.
Among other crazy things, the group alleged that “Fracking poisons our water,” “pipelines lower our property values,” and “fracking causing earthquakes,” while also claiming that the oil and gas industry does not bring jobs, energy independence, or investment into the state. Of course we know none of these statements are true. The real job killer is the co-called Community Bill of Rights, which they are fighting for in this most recent appeal in Broadview Heights.
Mothers Against Drilling in Our Neighborhood (MADION) initially sued the state of Ohio, the city of Broadview Heights, and two energy companies. MADION cited the passage of the 2012 “Community Bill of Rights” claiming that the measure supersedes state law. But that MADION class-action suit was dismissed by Judge McCormick last year, who said that the February 17th ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court dealt with similar efforts to ban oil and gas development in Ohio, and set a precedent that local governments may not override the state’s authority to regulate the industry, nor discriminate against, unfairly impede, or obstruct oil and gas activities and production operations that the state has permitted.
MADION is based in Broadview Heights where a so-called Community Bill of Rights was passed in 2012 and the county found it also to be “an invalid exercise of its home rule authority and is pre-empted by ORC Chapter 1509 as a matter of law.” As Judge McCormick explained about the ruling,
“Like (in) Bass Energy, this court rules that the principles articulated in Morrison (Munroe Falls) necessitate a finding that article XV (the Broadview Heights bill of rights) is preempted by R.C. chapter 1509. Thus, Article XV is unenforceable… The court finds that it is beyond doubt that plaintiffs can prove no set of facts in support of their claims that would entitle them to relief.”
The journal entry of this ruling was filed in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Courts and required that the dismissal of the lawsuit be sent to the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
As EID has reported on several occasions, these so- called Bill of Rights measures continue to be unenforceable and preempted by state law. However we know CELDF does not care about the law, which is evident by their theatrical display this week and recent statements by their founder, Thomas Linzey, who said, that activists should “ratchet up” civil disobedience and begin “filling up jails”. He continued:
“I mean, our resistance has to ratchet up, the opposition has to ratchet up our stuff to a point where it’s actually actively interfering with these projects, because if you don’t do that and you rely entirely on the legal process and the legal process is so stacked against you in terms of what municipalities can and can’t do, that at that point you have no other option but to engage in that type of action”
And let’s not forget Thomas Linzey’s respect for taxpayers. As he said:
“[I]f a town goes bankrupt trying to defend one of our ordinances, well, perhaps that’s exactly what is needed to trigger a national movement.” (emphasis added.)
Since the facts are not on their side, these desperate thespian activists have again taken to the streets for a pretty lackluster theatrical performance. We’re just sorry they missed the deadline to be included in EID’s list of the “Most Outrageous Anti-Fracking Stunts of 2015!”