Woman Faces Felony Charge After Attaching Herself To Barrels At Well Site

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The woman who attached herself to a pair of barrels outside an injection well site says she now faces a fifth-degree felony of inducing panic.

Madeline ffitch (lowercase spelling is correct) voluntarily freed herself late Tuesday morning after more than six hours of protest at the site on Ladd Ridge Road west of Athens.

"The barrels were each filled with concrete," she said, "and they each weighed about a thousand pounds, and I was locked to rebar that was inside the barrels."

Authorities had struggled for hours to come up with a way of detaching ffitch from the barrels without harming her.

She says she stationed herself there "to protest the out-of-state fracking waste that's being shipped into Athens County every day with no state regulatory oversight."

ffitch takes issue with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

"I decided to take this route because citizens have been asking the ODNR and state regulatory agencies time and time again through more conventional routes to test the brine and monitor what's going into the wells and to oversee that the wells are taking proper volumes of injection waste. The ODNR is not doing that. They're refusing to do that."

ffitch says she got positive responses from neighbors who were unhappy with the fumes and traffic from the well site.

Her preliminary hearing is set for July 9 at 2 p.m. in Athens County Municipal Court.