19 August 2014

  Citizens work to create the “Columbus Community Bill of Rights” to ensure Local Control over dangerous Shale Gas drilling and waste. A group of concerned citizens are working to ensure safe drinking water, clean air, and safe soil in the Columbus Community.  The Columbus Community Bill of Rights is a ballot initiative that will legalize the rights of residents to have a say in the processing, drilling and disposal of unconventional natural gas extraction in the city of Columbus.   Local residents weigh in: “Local control is critical in the fight against fracking and the oil and gas interests.”  Chuck Lynd, Director of Simply Living and Board member of the Ohio Sustainable Business Council;  “Most people don’t know that we have no control over this.” Jennie Scheinbach, Founder/Worker/Owner of Pattycake Bakery, Columbus;  “I had no idea this was the case, until fracking became an issue in our state.”  Kevin Murphy, Columbus resident and Manager of Bexley Natural Market;  “The folks that are supposed to be protecting us have failed.  We need to change this ourselves.”  Jesse Kloth, Columbus resident.  Similar rights based local initiatives have successfully passed in other cities, such as Pittsburgh, Mansfield and Broadview Heights (near Cleveland).  Currently other Ohio cities, Kent, Youngstown and Athens are working toward getting local control through Ballot Initiative effforts.  “In 2010, the Council of the City of Pittsburgh looked long and hard at the risks and rewards of the entire shale gas extraction process, commonly known as “fracking.”  We performed our due diligence and, at the end of the day, we found that the risks far outweighed any reward; only the few benefitted to the detriment of the many.  We recognized our Constitutional obligations to look to the health, welfare and safety of the People of Pittsburgh. We acted to assert our civil rights to protect the place we call home and the preserve the integrity of our democracy.  On November 16, 2010, the Council of the City of Pittsburgh unanimously (9-0) enacted the Community Bill of Rights.   I am certain, if you are concerned for the health, welfare and safety of the People of Columbus, Ohio, you too will come to the same conclusions as we did in Pittsburgh. You have my full support, and that of many others here in Pittsburgh, who likewise applaud your efforts to secure a better day for Columbus! “  Douglas A. Shields, Former President & Member of Pittsburgh City Council (2004-2012), Sponsor of the Pittsburgh Community Bill of Rights Legislation "It is fitting that the kick-off to the Columbus Community Bill of Rights campaign is during the July 4th holiday. The people of Columbus realize that being a colony of the oil/gas industry is not in their best interest and that they need to be able to decide what happens in their community.”  Tish O’Dell, CELDF Ohio Organizer and co-founder of MADION, Mothers Against Drilling In Our Neighborhoods, which successfully passed a Bill of Rights in the City of Broadview Heights, Ohio in 2012. The Columbus Community Bill of Rights organizing committee will spearhead the campaign to gather 10,000 Columbus resident signatures to get the Charter Amendment on the May, 2015 City Election Ballot.   People can go to www.ColumbusBillofRights.org, to find out more about the ballot initiative, to read the full text of the Columbus Community Bill of Rights, and to find out how they can sign the petition. “I think we have the right to stand up for ourselves and to protect our land and water from these giant corporations. Our community health and kids’ future should come first.”  Dana Kuhnline, Columbus resident. ### If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Carolyn Harding or Greg Pace at 614-565-6067 or email Greg at gpace67@gmail.com