Appalachian Basin

Three Strikes and You’re Out, Frackfree Mahoning

For the third time since May of last year, Youngstown voters have soundly rejected an anti-energy charter amendment disguised as a community “bill of rights.”  On Tuesday, Youngstown voters defeated the proposal 54 percent to 46 percent — once again showing their overwhelming support of job-creating shale development in their county.

The fact that Youngstown voters support the oil and gas industry should come as no surprise, since the Mahoning Valley has landed over 25 oil and gas projects, contributing to at least 4,000 jobs and investments totaling more than $5 billion.  Local companies like Dearing Compressor and Pump  are expanding their operations to keep up with local demand, while new companies like Vallourec Star is investing over a billion dollars and providing high-paying jobs to Youngstown residents.  Things are on the up and up for Youngstown, and the residents are noticing:

“For a third time on this issue, Youngstown voters have said they support jobs and opportunity in Youngstown,” said Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber President Tom Humphries. “We hope those supporting this legislation will now respect the will of the voters and not make yet another attempt that wastes tax dollars that could be wisely used elsewhere.”

Unfortunately, Frackfree Mahoning is not going to respect the voters’ wishes this time around either.  Following the election results last night, members of Frackfree Mahoning vowed to keep placing the charter amendment on the ballot until they get the results they want.

“We’ll put it on again, it doesn’t matter how many times we have to fight for our inalienable rights to clean water and clean air.”- Susie Beiersdorfer

“This is not going to stop; it will keep going until it’s passed. It will keep going. This is not over.”- Lynn Anderson, Frackfree Mahoning

The activists’ position calls to mind what Albert Einstein once said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Prior to last nights failed attempt, this same community “bill of rights” has lost by double digits on two previous occasions when it has gone before the voters.  This time around, Frackfree Mahoning even elicited help from 20 Youngstown State professors to help dupe the public into believing their activist campaign.  Still, the public saw through their charade and made their decision based on facts instead of debunked talking points. Among the activists’ claims was a linkage between shale development and birth defects, which has been publically disproven as recently as this past Friday.

The Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment — a broad collaboration of Mahoning Valley elected officials, as well as business, labor and community leaders — had educated the public about the job-killing nature of Frackfree’s proposal:

“The Community Bill of Rights would have been a job-killer and put Youngstown far behind other cities in attracting new business to the city,” said Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally. “Youngstown is making a comeback and this charter amendment would have stopped that growth.”

The activists in Youngstown don’t seem to care that shale development is creating opportunities for thousands of working families, or the fact that very few people actually believe their bogus claims. Despite their claims to the contrary, perhaps Frackfree Mahoning will recognize they have been defeated by the people of Youngstown and will stop wasting the public’s tax dollars on a dead-end proposal.

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