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In 'Tragic' Decision, Top Ohio Court Takes Away Local Power to Ban Fracking


In 'Tragic' Decision, Top Ohio Court Takes Away Local Power to Ban Fracking

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

In a blow to anti-fracking campaigners across the state, the Ohio Supreme Court said this week that the authority to regulate oil and gas drilling activities—and therefore, to ban fracking within municipal borders—lies with the state as opposed to cities, towns, or counties.


So much for the voice of the people (Vox Populi) whose lives, the environment, the water and air quality will continue to suffer from the toxic and adversely geologic after-affects of fracking. Money/greed trump common sense and make a mockery of any democratic process. Tragic that our nation has succumbed to vapid rhetoric about energy self-sufficiency, job creation and that corporations (energy companies???) will police themselves…we have seen the outcomes and the lies have been exposed. Look at how disastrous and disruptive the results of the Bakken Oil field activities have been for the farmers, small towns, long-time residents, the wildlife, and waterways. Not only is the region decimated but all areas that are exposed to the transport of the crude (recent West Virginia rail disasater) suffer as well. But we must continue to battle the brutes and overcome losses maintaining hope that justice will prevail (not corrupt judges profiting from supposed economic boons associated with resource extraction).


I’m sure the Roberts supreme court will overturn this ruling.


We are all Nigerians now!


“I guess that means the voice of the people doesn’t matter. We said ‘we want local control,’ and then they take it away.”

Representative democracy is dead murdered by money politics.


Maybe the Ohio voters had best start grooming a new governor and state legislature. There has to be SOME way to follow New York’s lead.


Not for nothing is the oil industry the richest in the history of money. In Calif., we’ve been trying to get Gov. Brown to ban fracking, especially since we’re in the worst drought on record (and no end in sight), and fracking uses approx. 1 million gallons of potable water per drillsite. So far, no luck.


This is outrageous… when I read it… I wanted to get up a scream and run out and scream… all of these kinds of actions… take away the “EMPOWERMENT” that people feel from other victories…


The bankers, the Energy Moguls, and the MIC’s war profiteers own “the place.”


Don’t be too distraught. These types of court decisions are to be expected. This does not mean the end. Though a favorable ruling would have made things easier, as these decisions add up and the more people hear about them, the more they get how we the people are losing control and the more likely they will act to grab back their rights. We used to hear “states rights” from the righties. Now they are making states their own little fiefdoms and you will start hearing about local rights, giving people who are most affected the decision-making power, not a bunch of rightwing,corporate thugs at the state level.

See celdf.org.


This is not a “tragedy”, this is an outrage! Fight back, organize–the State IS the people even if these cretins have made it the handmaiden of the corporations.


Right. It certainly is tragic but perhaps understandable. Probably a legal question regarding state’s control of resources and so on, whereas a city or community does not have power that exceeds that of the state. So it would be a legislative decision, and the communities have to make that happen at that level. Alas and alack: the laws have made it that it is not every man, every community for itself. Some value in that, I suppose. But it’s hard to appreciate it when it comes to fracking and personal water supplies.


Looks like it’s time for a little “local” Justice. We have a couple of communities here in western PA that didn’t want fracking operations, or even any of its traffic going through their borders. They made life a living hell for everybody in the drilling industry. the police wrote tickets for every imaginable moving violation, collecting enormous amounts of fines. The tanker and truck drivers now have to avoid certain municipalities. And that is only the obvious step. Find a local lawyer and start up the frivolous lawsuits. Hey, they started it.


So, as Mule Graves in The Grapes of Wrath asks: “But where does it stop? Who can we shoot?” We cannot just lie down and allow them to steamroller us!


Well, you are right about how the righties want to make the states their own little fiefdoms… but, it is very disturbing that they are even trying to do what they are doing…


Let’s just get rid of this federal government. It’s always an oppressive arm of Wall Street. It always sides against local interests.

Let’s just go back to the 1776 Articles of Confederation where a weak central government ensured local liberty and freedom for the individual.

All we have, once again, is the freedom of large corporations like the British East India Company to tyrannize the locals and to over-ride local town council decisions.

In 1775, we called these The Intolerable Acts.

Pumping toxins and carcinogens into people’s water supplies is intolerable.


[quote=“diveshopingoa, post:11, topic:4662”]
If you are going to write your own law you might look for help and understanding. CELDF.org has written law for over 150 communities as well as foreign countries. They know what they are doing and they understand that “home rule” is not about fighting the state over drilling regulations but about the right of the people at the local level to protect and preserve their community, lives, health, safety and welfare by just saying NO. [/quote]

Just to second your post wholeheartedly: CELDF.org should be the first recourse for communities now finding themselves royally usurped by the hierarchies of the corporate state. A link to this site on CD about six months ago led me to check this organization out, which turned out to be eye-opening.

The site serendipitously led (in one of those online all-nighters) to my belated discovery of POCLAD, the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy, described here:

POCLAD is a group of 11 people instigating democratic conversations and actions that contest the authority of corporations to govern . . . By What Authority is published regularly. The title is English for quo warranto, a legal phrase that questions illegitimate exercise of privilege and power. We the people and our federal and state officials have long been giving giant business corporations illegitimate authority. Today, a minority directing giant corporations and backed by police, courts, and the military, define our culture, govern our nation, and plunder the earth. By What Authority reflects an unabashed assertion of the right of the sovereign people to govern themselves.

Tracing POCLAD’s history I came across a truly radical, enlightening book called Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy, published in 2001, that I read practically nonstop one weekend. In turn I became educated about the revolutionary insights and activism of the late Richard Grossman, who BTW had a lot to say about the sham of regulatory agencies and their enormous waste of challengers’ time with their bait of legal redress.

I hope CDers unfamiliar with POCLAD’s work (and the substantial curriculum of its Democracy Schools) will explore these links to learn once more (with feeling) the painful details of how we Americans after so arduously gaining expanded personal rights came to cede these one after another to state, federal, and corporate centralized powers. As a result our civic participation in democracy is now so atrophied that, with apologies to Frederick Douglass, we’re at a loss as just how to go about exercising our own sovereignty in the face of (shock, shock) “power [that] concedes nothing without a fight.”

If we were a truly self-governing people, wouldn’t we have to ask ourselves why we are granting the corporate state via its bought judges and corrupted courts the power to “rule” that local communities (i.e., we the people) have no real power?


" …lawmakers gave to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to license and regulate the location of wells,"

The location of wells - that is the key … In NY home rule was preserved because although the state has the power to regulate wells - it doesn’t have the power to locate them - in other words, if the locality allows wells, it cannot regulate them, but if it bans them, the state cannot force acceptance … It sounds as though the Ohio law may be different ,


The TTIP and TPP treaties will entrench all of this. In the UK, we are worried about TTIP, as we know that corporations will be handed the right to sue government and local government for any actions that protect people and affect business profits. I hope that Americans fight TTIP as much as Europeans are trying to do. It is anti people, and anti democratic.


As the article states, the local laws “conflicted with state regulations first enacted in 2004.” My friends and I remember when the Republican controlled State House pushed it through, along with its share of Democrats, and that it took control away from democratically functioning local governments who usually answer to the people, and put it in the hands of, if I recall correctly, the hands of less than a half dozen people at the state level. The number “8” comes to mind, but I would have to fact check it. So the Republican dominated Ohio Supreme Court supported the state legislation, legislation that was a well planned strike against democracy well before the fracking industry ran wild. If you think this legislation was not put forth by the drilling industry and agreed to by its “elected” lackeys, then you just don’t understand how our government works. Time to dispel illusion that when it comes to powerful interests against our own, we do not run our government, particularly when a buck is to be made.

Well, it was smart by those powerful interests to subvert democracy, since it is easier to buy off a dozen people than buy off a whole community that has vested interests in what goes on in their communities. Think we have real democracy, the we are the greatest democracy in the world? Think again. Who was it, Will Rogers who said “we have the best democracy money can buy/” It is only that way if we become disinterested spectators more concerned with entertainment than adult-like handling of our daily lives by putting those wiled-away hours into something important–our future and the future of our children and grandchildren, the future of this crumbling world, the only place we have to live.