Fracking amendment proceeding to ballot

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Voters in Youngstown will decide once again in November if they want to allow hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, within the city limits.

In May, 56 percent of the voters said yes, they are fine with drilling.  But those opposed to it weren’t buying it and have forced fracking back on the ballot by collecting signatures.

The Mahoning County Board of Elections met Friday afternoon to vote on a protest to the fracking charter amendment filed by the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment. The group, which is pro-drilling, was expected to challenge the amendment’s legality.

But shortly after the meeting started, Board Chairman Mark Munroe announced that the protest had been withdrawn. Cheers erupted from the crowd, which was filled with charter amendment supporters.

Mike Chadsey of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association supports what happened on Friday and is confident the result will end up the same.

“Right. Let the process play out like it was on the ballot the last time. And we have every confidence that like last time, the people of Youngstown want this industry and support this industry,” Chadsey said.

Susie Beirsdorfer is the spokesperson for the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Committee, which is pushing to stop the fracking.

“Voting is a fundamental right and we should be able to vote when we put a charter amendment on the ballot signed by the people of Youngstown. We ought to be able to vote,” Beirsdorfer said.

A letter was read at the Mahoning County Board of Elections meeting since no one from the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment was present. In a statement, the chamber said that conflict of interest among the Board of Elections members was a factor in the decision.

The Regional Chamber said it also is confident the voters will reject the amendment again.

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