Youngstown ‘fracking’ opponents to file appeal in federal court

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A coalition of activists from Youngstown and other parts of Ohio has filed a notice in the U.S. Sixth Court of  Appeals challenging a federal judge’s ruling against their claim that state and local elections boards of violated their constitutional rights by preventing voters from deciding environmental issues such as fracking.

In April, U.S. District Court Judge Benita Pearson dismissed the lawsuit filed by grassroots environmental groups in seven Ohio counties, including Susie Beiersdorfer and Dario Hunter of Frackfree Mahoning Valley, which has been unsuccessful eight times in backing a ballot issue to ban fracking inside Youngstown city limits.

Fracking is a process using high pressure to crack geologic formations below ground to free oil and gas trapped there. Opponents have expressed concern that fracking could endanger water supplies and pose other environmental hazards.

The lawsuit claimed that election boards and the Ohio Secretary of State have violated the groups’ constitutional right to free speech and due process by rejecting petitions signed by hundreds and thousands of registered voters seeking ballot space on issues dealing with clean water, fracking, injection wells, and other environmental concerns.

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