Coalition for Job Growth and Investment Works For Area’s Future
On Friday, the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Growth and Investment held a joint press conference at the Youngstown – Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce to announce that it will fight an ill advised charter amendment to ban oil and gas development in Youngstown. The group formed in order to educate the public on the real consequences of the proposed ban as well as important facts about the oil and gas industry. The new coalition features members from labor, business, educational and religious communities.
In addition to trying to ban oil and gas development, the proposed amendment contains serious loopholes, which may even unintentionally impact longtime employers in the Mahoning Valley. For example, the “Community Bill of Rights” is quite misleading. It promises the people the right to clean water, clean air and peaceful enjoyment of home, and the bill gives “inalienable” rights to ecosystems like streams, wetlands and rivers. In reality, all of these measures are less about granting rights to non-humans and more about restricting industries that are the backbone of Youngstown, including the new V&M Star plant and many of the manufacturing plants in the city. And if a new business wants to establish roots in Youngstown, well — it better not do it anywhere near what could possibly be classified as even a stream.
For an area that is on the cusp of an economic renaissance, the proposed amendment could certainly threaten Youngstown’s new found prosperity. To add insult to injury, the proposed charter amendment — by attempting to establish new rules at the city level — fails to recognize that the oil and gas industry is actually exclusively regulated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. That means the proposed amendment would either open the door to a patchwork of regulatory measures (there’s a reason each city doesn’t issue its own driver’s license, to give you an idea of why that’s a problem), or — more likely — be superseded by state laws anyway.
In short, this amendment is largely a messaging exercise to publicly demonize oil and gas development, although it’s worth noting that the measure would negatively affect other businesses in the area.
Members of the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment
The members of the coalition are:
- Don Crane, President, Western Reserve Building Trades
- Butch Taylor, Business Manager, Plumbers & Pipefitters 396
- Tim Manion, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 396
- Jim Iudicianii, Business Development, Stateline Paving
- Alex Benyo, President, Brilex
- Phil Dennison, Principal, Packer Thomas
- Steve Frackhauser, Director, HBK
- Father Greg Maturi, Pastor, St. Dominic Church, Youngstown
- Dave Deibel, President, Boardman Steel
- Mark Rog, Branch Manager, Graybar
- Laura and Paul Lyden, Vice President, Lyden Oil
- Michael Myhal, President, TMI
- Chris Jaskiewicz, COO, VEC Inc.
- Rex Ferry, President, VEC Inc.
- Dave Mosure, Vice President, ms consultants
- Rob Palowitz, President, Palo Creative
- Rick Dearing, President, Dearing Compressor
- Jim Klingensmith, Vice President/COO, L. Calvin Jones
- Vince Bacon, Director, Bolt Construction
- Martin Abraham, Dean, STEM College at Youngstown State University
- Dave Hughes, President, Specialty Fab
- Pete Asimakopoulos, EVP, Banking & Youngstown Market President First National Bank
- Pat Bevack, President, Home Savings
- Tom Humphries, President & CEO, Regional Chamber
- Denny Malloy, President, White Tails Unlimited
- Tracey Winbush, Radio talk show host, Tracey and Friends
- Dave Harrison, Planning and Zoning and Economic Development Director, Village of Lordstown
- Marty Bushey, Attorney, Manchester & Bennett & Powers & Ullman
- Dave Betras, Chairman, Mahoning County Democratic Party
- Jean Gaetano, Executive Administrator, V&M Star
- John Gulas, President, Farmers National Bank
- Mike Montgomery, General Manager, De-Cal
- Kim Stefanski, Attorney, Stefanski & Associates
- Alan Wenger, Attorney, Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell
After the announcement, the speakers took questions and comments from elected leaders and community members in the audience.
Here are a few of the most notable observations:
“It is government by chaos and government can not operate that way.” (3:26) – Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Betras
“This document would prohibit anyone from developing their mineral rights.” (3:48) – Alan Wenger, Attorney, Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell
“We still need to find a balance approach and this does not make sense it goes too far and we need to do something that makes sense and that is reasonable.” (9:15) – 4th Ward Councilman Mike Ray
In the video below you will see two people, Dave Betras and Tom Humphries, who clearly have a history of agreeing on very little — but nonetheless agree that a measure attempting to block oil and gas development within Youngstown should be voted down.
Community leaders from all walks of life have come together to explain why those who are pushing for a ban on development in Youngstown have missed the mark. According to one study there are already almost 40,00o new shale related jobs in Ohio and over 1.7 million total in the United States These are just the first of many if the industry is allowed to grow and expand — not only in the valley, but throughout Ohio as well.
Any measure that halts development would, in turn, create another barrier to putting Ohioans back to work. The proposed charter amendment certainly falls into that category.
Stay tuned for a complete analysis of the “Community Bill or Rights” as Energy In Depth examines the charter amendment and its impacts.