Appalachian Basin

Activists Turn to Dakota Access Pipeline When They Can’t Stop Fracking in Ohio

A very small group of protesters made a spectacle of themselves in front of Ohio Governor Kasich’s office this week, with one activist going as far as to park a van in the middle of a busy intersection and handcuff himself to it. The group, Appalachia Resist (AR), is unsurprisingly opposed to “fracking, injection wells, and the barging of frack waste on the Ohio River.”

While this week’s Ohio actions were under the guise of protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, the group itself is part of a larger fringe movement to “keep it in the ground” and halt all oil and gas development in Ohio and across the country. As we’ve seen over the past couple of months, this campaign has become increasingly extreme.


Photo: EID


Photo: Columbus Dispatch

The AR protest this week was led by activist Peter Gibbons-Ballew, who has been a known agitator in Ohio for years. Peter’s arrest this week, follows a trend with he and his girlfriend, Madeline Ffitch, who has previously been arrested for blocking access to an injection well in 2012 where she was charged for inducing panic and disorderly conduct, and again in 2014 for trespassing in Athens County. Ms. Ffitch is a “long-time political and environmental activist and crusading journalist”.

Most recently, Ffitch and Gibbons-Ballew were cited “occupying” a Wayne National Forest meeting, once again inducing panic and threatening landowners, as was reported in a September EID guest column.

These extreme acts of civil disobedience and media stunts are all these groups have left after suffering crushing defeats on Election Day.  Recalling that fracking played a huge role in the election, particularly in Youngstown, where voters rejected anti-fracking community bill of rights for the sixth consecutive time.


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