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Issue 7 Passes, Bans Fracking in Athens

By Cassie Kelly, Editor-in-Chief

Video by Cassie Kelly

On Nov. 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 required 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.

    Courtesy of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency The Hocking River watershed drains a total of 1,196 square miles and flows through all or part of seven counties, including Lancaster, Logan, Nelsonville and Athens.
    Courtesy of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
    The Hocking River watershed drains a total of 1,196 square miles and flows through all or part of seven counties, including Lancaster, Logan, Nelsonville and Athens.
  • 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 all the counties surrounding the Hocking River watershed pass their own Bill of Rights and ban hydraulic fracturing operations to ultimately protect the water supply from the threat of contamination in the entire Southeast Ohio region.

But, as for now, the committee is going to work on gaining support in the surrounding communities and educating others on fracking operations.

By Cassie Kelly The Athens Bill of Rights Committee
By Cassie Kelly
The Athens Bill of Rights Committee

Cassie is quite the busy bee. She is a junior in the E.W. Scripps school of Journalism and has plans to get the environmental studies certificate, before she graduates. She is the Vice President of the Society of Professional Journalists, works two jobs on campus and is a full time student…

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