For Immediate Release
October 29, 2014
Tish O’Dell, Ohio Community Organizer
OHIO: A record number of Community Bills of Rights citizens’ initiatives banning shale gas drilling
and fracking are on the ballot in Ohio municipalities this November 4th. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) drafted each of the rights-based initiatives for Athens, Youngstown, Gates Mills, and Kent. Residents requested CELDF’s assistance to protect themselves from fracking and related activities, such as fracking wastewater injection wells, as both entered the state several years ago.
Since 2012, Ohio communities have been protecting themselves from fracking through CELDF- drafted Community Bills of Rights. Yellow Springs, Mansfield, Oberlin, and Broadview
Heights adopted Community Bills of Rights in the last two years. These local laws codify community rights to self-governance and a healthy environment, and the rights of nature to exist and flourish – while prohibiting frack activities as a violation of those rights.
The fracking process produces millions of gallons of toxic wastewater, which corporations are disposing of through underground injection wells. Fracking and injections wells have been tied to
earthquakes within Ohio and elsewhere, and the contamination of drinking water. And, while many
claim that shale gas is a “cleaner” fuel than coal or oil, research has found that fracking is a major
global warming contributor.
Tish O’Dell, CELDF’s Ohio Community Organizer, stated, “For too long, the State of Ohio and the oil and gas industry have worked hand-in-hand to strip communities of their right to protect themselves
and the environment. Ohio communities are no longer willing to accept a legal system which
forces fracking into communities.”
O’Dell added, “Beginning in 2012, Ohio communities have been exercising their right to local self-
governance to say “no” to fracking and “yes” to sustainability. This November , four more Ohio
communities will have the opportunity to challenge the corporate claimed “right” to frack, and the state’s preemption of their right to protect their own health, safety, and welfare.”
Through grassroots organizing and public interest law, CELDF works with communities across the
country to establish Community Rights to democratic, local self-governance and sustainability.
CELDF has assisted more than 150 communities to ban shale gas drilling and fracking, factory farming, and water privatization, and eliminate corporate “rights” when they violate community and
nature’s rights. This includes assisting the first communities in the U.S. to establish Rights of Nature
in law, as well as the first communities to elevate the rights of those communities above the “rights”