Mahoning County Board again votes down fracking issues on ballot

Despite being defeated six times, the anti-fracking group wants another ballot issue to ban fracking in Youngstown

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The group that’s been trying to ban fracking in Youngstown is expected to file a lawsuit Thursday morning with the Ohio Supreme Court. This after the Mahoning County Board of Elections voted on Wednesday to keep its proposals off the November ballot.

The Mahoning County Board of Elections and Youngstown’s anti-fracking group debated the merits of the new state law, which allows Election Boards to keep issues off the ballot which they find to be illegal or unconstitutional in Ohio.

“I took an oath to follow the law and the constitution of the state of Ohio,” David Betras of Mahoning County BOE said.

“It’s the law,” said Kathleen Berry, an anti-fracking protester. “It’s the law.”

Berry dramatized the situation that the anti-fracking group was facing.

Despite being defeated six times, it wants another ballot issue to ban fracking in Youngstown. But it also wants a second issue to limit campaign contributions in Youngstown to $100 and allow those contributions to be made only by city residents.

“Because we have seen nothing but big business money thrown at the drinking water protection community bill of rights to defeat it — over and over again,” Lynn Anderson, an anti-fracking protester said.

Attorney Joe Gurarino — representing Western Reserve Building Trades — asked the board to not allow the issues onto the ballot, saying that fracking is regulated by the state. And on the ballot issues…

“Organizations such as labor unions have first amendment rights of their own,” Gurarino said.

Election Board Chairman Mark Munroe said both proposals to amend Youngstown’s Charter.

“Deal with matters that are governed by existing law and are clearly beyond the city’s authority modify,” he said.

And with that, they voted 4-0 not to allow either issue on the Nov. 7 ballot.

“We are no longer just the anti-fracking activists, we are also the pro-democracy activists,” Susie Biersdorfer said.

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