Columbus citizens may assume they now have and will continue to enjoy clean air, soil and drinking water. A group of concerned citizens aren’t so sure, and are currently organizing to make sure the Columbus environment stays healthy.

 This group is working towards passing a local “community bill of rights” in response to the toxic threats caused by fracking in the state. The group is collecting signatures on a Columbus Community Bill of Rights petition, an amendment to the Columbus City Charter, that would ensure the rights of Columbus citizens to a clean environment.

 The urgency of the petition is spelled out on their website: “There are 13 injection wells in the Columbus area water supply, where radioactive and toxic liquid waste from unconventional natural gas extraction (shale gas, hydrofracking), is being injected into the earth, with great potential for migration into our water supply. Within the City of Columbus, on the banks of the Alum Creek, the Ohio EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has permitted potentially highly radioactive shale gas solid waste to be processed, and ‘beneficially’ used, without any required radioactive testing.”

 Ohio municipalities that have already passed their own community bill of rights are Mansfield, Youngstown and Broadview Heights. This is a movement happening in many other cities across the nation.

 Currently in Ohio, state agencies have complete jurisdiction over oil and gas permits regarding fracking and the disposal of the subsequent liquid and solid hazardous waste.

 If enough signatures are gathered and the amendment passes, Columbus residents would have local control over the extraction of hydrocarbons through fracking that would affect the city and protect the citizens’ unalienable rights for pure water, clean air and safe soil, free from ‘toxins, carcinogens, radioactive substances, and other substances known to cause harm to health.’”

 To get involved, email:, or go to

Appears in Issue: