Appalachian Basin

Columbus “Community Bill of Rights” Ballot Measure Fails as Activist Group Submits Thousands of Invalid Signatures

After campaigning for over a year in Columbus, the Pennsylvania based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) turned in their petitions to get their anti-fracking “Community Bill of Rights” placed on the November Ballot – but the vast majority of the signatures were not valid. Therefore the petition effort has again failed.

The petition required 8,900 signatures, of which 5,500 were thrown out by the board of election, which means that 62 percent of the signatures were not valid!

This is yet another big defeat for the CELDF. The group has also been working closely with Mothers Against Drilling in Our Neighborhoods (MADION), which also tried to get a “Bill of Right” passed in 2012 in Broadview Heights. However, the county found it to be “an invalid exercise of its home rule authority and is pre-empted by ORC Chapter 1509 as a matter of law.” As Judge McCormick explained about the ruling,

“Like (in) Bass Energy, this court rules that the principles articulated in Morrison (Munroe Falls) necessitate a finding that article XV (the Broadview Heights bill of rights) is preempted by R.C. chapter 1509. Thus, Article XV is unenforceable… The court finds that it is beyond doubt that plaintiffs can prove no set of facts in support of their claims that would entitle them to relief”

As these unenforceable ballot measures, which are clearly preempted by state law, continue to be challenged, at least the taxpayers of Columbus can breathe a sigh of relief that board of election was able to snuff out the 62 percent of bogus signatures – and the dubious tactics of CELDF – before it landed on the ballot.

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