The first direct anti-fracking action in Southeast Ohio ended shortly before noon on Tuesday June 26, 2012 when Madeline ffitch voluntarily released herself from concrete barrels blocking the gate to a Class 2 Injection Well on Ladd Ridge Road in Athens County. Having occupied the spot for almost 6 ½ hours her decision to unlock herself came after the arrival of an airlifted Highway Patrol tactical team from Columbus took over operations from Albany police, Albany fire department, county sheriff, Athens fire department, ODNR wildlife officers already present. Choosing to release herself rather than endanger either herself or the officers present, ffitch declared the action a victory. The injection well was closed for half a day, media spread through out the state, and attention was brought to the negligence of our regulating bodies, including lack of nonbiased testing, not enforcing weight restrictions on local bridges, and allowing brine to deliveries to exceed daily limits.

During the course of the action, ffitch was isolated behind a barricade of law enforcement vehicles. Her supporters were forced, under threat of arrest, to vacate the immediate vicinity. Locating themselves on an intersecting road, the support team maintained shouting contact with ffitch, held signs and a large banner, talked with neighbors and passersby. An overwhelming majority of neighbors responded positively to the action, citing their own experiences and frustrations with the volume of truck traffic at the site, odor, and near-accidents with brine trucks.

Ffitch was charged the same afternoon in Athens Municipal Court with a 5th degree felony charge of inducing panic and released on her own recognizance. As the first direct action in this region involving fracking and fracking waste disposal, it stands in solidarity with the other direct actions that have taken place across Ohio. This action is fuel for the upcoming fire! Autonomous direct action, surveillance and the documentation of the fracking industry will deliver the message that the citizen’s of Ohio have had enough!

Your contribution will be used to pay legal fees, the costs of expert witness’, potentially help with the cost of restitution if it comes to that, and support future direct action against fracking.

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