Chained-Barrel Protester Pleads Guilty To Misdemeanor Charge

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An Athens County woman who staged a protest at a waste disposal well in June pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of aggravated trespass.

Madeline ffitch, 31, was originally charged with a felony of inducing panic after she attached herself to a pair of barrels at an injection well on Ladd Ridge Road in protest of environmental impacts of the well.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said ffitch has been placed in the Athens County Prosecutor's Office two-year diversion program and was ordered to pay $500 in restitution.

"[ffitch] caused an inconvenience to the public, which resulted in more than $1,000 of economic harm. If she meets the terms and conditions of the diversion program, her case will be dismissed and she will not have it on her criminal record," said Blackburn.

ffitch said she chained herself to the barrels "to protest the out-of-state fracking waste that's being shipped into Athens County every day with no state regulatory oversight."