City of Niles "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Initiative (November 2014)
|Voting on Fracking|
|Not on ballot
If approved, this measure would establish a community bill of rights prohibiting any new projects that drill for and extract shale gas and oil, especially through the process known as fracking. It also contains provisions "subordinating the privileges bestowed on corporations to the rights and governance of the people."
Text of measure
City of Niles Community Protection From Shale Gas and Oil Extraction and Waste Disposal Bill of Rights Ordinance: An Ordinance Establishing A Community Bill of Rights for Niles Residents and Natural Communities and Protecting Those Rights by Prohibiting New Shale Gas and Oil Extraction and Related Activities; And by Subordinating the Privileges Bestowed on Corporations to the Rights and Governance of the People.
SECTION 1. PREAMBLE
Whereas, this ordinance establishes a Community Bill of Rights which recognizes and secures the civil and political rights of Niles residents, pursuant to Article I, Section 20 of the Ohio Constitution which states: “This enumeration of rights shall not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the people, and all powers, not herein delegated, remain with the people;” and
Whereas, this ordinance bans any new extraction of shale gas and oil, along with associated activities, including the disposal of fracking wastes into injection wells within the City because these activities violate the civil rights of Niles residents, and because they threaten the health, safety, and welfare of residents and neighborhoods of Niles; and
Whereas, this ordinance removes legal powers and authority from corporations in violation of its prohibitions, in recognition that those legal powers are illegitimate and unjust, in that they place the rights of a corporate minority over the rights and political authority of a majority of Niles residents; and Whereas, this Ordinance shall be known and may be cited as “Niles’ Community Protection from Shale Gas and Oil Extraction and Waste Disposal Ordinance;” and
Whereas, this Ordinance is enacted pursuant to the inherent right of the residents of Niles City to govern their own community, including, without limitation, the Declaration of Independence’s recognition that governments are instituted to secure the rights of people, and the Ohio Constitution’s recognition that “All political power is inherent in the people.”
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED by the people of the City of Niles, that we hereby adopt the following ordinance, which establishes a Bill of Rights for the residents and communities of the City, bans commercial extraction of shale gas and oil within Niles City because that extraction and that waste disposal cannot be achieved without violating the rights of residents and communities or endangering their health, safety, and welfare; removes certain legal powers from gas extraction corporations operating within Niles City; nullifies state laws, permits, and other authorizations which interfere with the rights secured by this ordinance; and imposes liabilities and fines for violations thereof.
The remainder of the full text of the petition is below:
The Keep Niles Safe Committee is behind the initiative petition.
Path to the ballot
The Keep Niles Safe Committee has until July 7, 2014 to collect and turn in 620 valid signatures to qualify its initiative for the November ballot. The committee was originally trying to get the initiative on the May 6, 2014 election ballot to join activists in Youngstown. They are now, however, seeking a November 4, 2014 election ballot question.
The first oil well was drilled in Ohio in 1895 and production has been occurring ever since. Just over 75 percent of counties in Ohio have commercial oil and gas resources, although production is concentrated in the eastern half of the state. From 1895 to 2009 Ohio produced more than 1 billion barrels of oil and 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Ohio sits on top of the Utica shale formation, which is expected to hold between 5.5 to 25 billion barrels of oil and 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Fracking began in Ohio in 1952, and, from then until 2009, fracking has been used to extract oil and gas from 80,306 wells.
The map to the right shows all the active, horizontal and directional wells in Trumbull County as of March 18, 2014. The blue dots marks where a well has been permitted, but not yet drilled. Dark pink indicates active injection is happening at that well. Yellow signifies a well that is being drilled. Green indicates that a well is producing. Light pink denotes that the well is plugged. Salmon means that the well is inactive. Orange means the well is dry and abandoned.
Oil and gas drilling is regulated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Oil and Gas Resources. The Division is responsible for regulating oil and gas operations, drilling, underground injection, solution mining and brine disposal. The ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources is also responsible for inspecting the drilling, plugging and restoration of wells and well sites. On June 11, 2012 Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 315, creating new regulations applying to fracking. This bill created a chemical disclosure requirement, set up rules for chemical sharing among doctors, required water sampling, created daily fines up to $20,000 for noncompliance and increased operator liability for horizontal wells.
- See also: Notable 2014 local measures
- City of Denton Fracking Ban Initiative (2014)
- City of Athens Fracking Ban Proposal Initiative (November 2014)
- City of Niles "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Initiative (November 2014)
- Santa Barbara County Fracking Ban Initiative, Measure P (November 2014)
- San Benito County Fracking Ban Initiative, Measure J (November 2014)
- Mendocino County Community Bill of Rights Fracking and Water Use Initiative, Measure S (November 2014)
- Village of Gates Mills "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Initiative (November 2014)
City of Loveland Two Year Fracking Suspension Initiative, Question 1 (June 2014)
Youngstown "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Charter Amendment (May 2014)
Johnson County Fracking Ban Referendum (March 2014)
- Keep Niles Safe website, "Petition Text," accessed March 16, 2014
- Keep Niles Safe Committee Website, accessed March 16, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Department of Natural Resources, "Oil and Gas Fields Map of Ohio," accessed March 18, 2014
- One barrel of oil produces about 19 gallons of gas U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Frequently Asked Questions," May 30, 2013, accessed March 18, 2014
- Energy in Depth, Ohio, "Ohio Energy 101," accessed March 18, 2014
- PolitiFact.com, "State Sen. Kris Jordan says 'fracking' has been used more than 60 years in Ohio," June 15, 2011, accessed March 18, 2014
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources, "Ohio Oil & Gas Wells," accessed March 18, 2014
- IDNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources, "About Us," accessed March 18, 2014
- ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources, "SB 315 Information," accessed March 18, 2014