On November 4, election day, Athens' Bill of Rights Committee gathered around the television, awaiting the fate of their proposed mandate to ban fracking operations within city limits, known as Issue 7.
After years of petitioning, picketing, fundraising and registering people to vote, Issue 7 passed by 78 percent. This means that it is now law in the city of Athens for corporations to draft a proposal for drilling within city limits. Without a proposal, the new law prohibits:
- Corporations from extracting shale gas and oil.
- The storage of any waste from oil and gas extraction.
- Site infrastructure supporting extraction.
- The procurement of water for use of extraction.
- Corporations from intending to take part in any of these activities; they could not avail themselves of certain legal rights and powers which would enable them to nullify the rights secured by this ordinance.
- Permits issued to allow corporations to engage in prohibited activities.
Now that the law is established, the Bill of Rights Committee has plans to move forward. Dick McGinn, Chairman of the Bill of Rights Committee, said this is only the beginning. He would like to see to it that all of the counties surrounding the Hocking River watershed pass their own Bill of Rights and ban fracking operations to ultimately protect the water supply from the threat of contamination in the entire Southeast, Ohio region.
But, as for right now, the committee is going to work on gaining support in the surrounding communities and educating others on fracking operations.
Video by Cassie Kelly