Fracking Opponents Travel To Athens For ‘Action Camp’

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Opponents of hydraulic fracturing will converge in Athens this weekend at an "action camp" hosted by the group Appalachia Resist.

Nate Ebert, spokesperson for the group, said he expects 40 to 50 people to attend the camp, which is aimed at gearing up local residents and others throughout the state to fight fracking and injection wells. 

"The camp will have workshops; everything from basic fracking 101 workshops to talking about geology, talking about media messaging, talking about navigating the [Ohio Department of Natural Resources], talking about strategic direct action and long term strategy," he said. 

Ebert said the camp begins Friday evening in Athens with a panel discussion featuring an attorney, an OU faculty member and a local activist.

The workshops will take place on Saturday and Sunday at an Amesville elementary school.

Ebert said one of the workshops will be about civil disobedience.

"We're talking about what to expect in civil disobedience legally and what kind of things you should consider and good ways to go about that and be safe," he said.

Ebert said the number of participants in the action camp suggests people are upset about hydraulic fracturing and the harm it can do to the environment.

"They feel like they haven't been heard. They feel like they've filed their grievances through the proper means and through our government and elected officials and representatives, and they're not being heard," he said. "I think people are willing to start new strategies and new tactics to stop this shale gas development and injection of toxic wastes into our ground."

Appalachia Resist was formed just a couple of months ago to stop fracking and fracking related waste disposal.

"It's certainly important to have discussions and talk about things but what we're really seeing here is that direct action does get the goods. Unfortunately, it seems to be the only reason that people will listen to you. It seems to be, from our experiences, what is actually getting the ODNR to start moving on some of these things," he said.

Earlier this week, state regulators approved permits for new waste injection wells in Athens and Washington counties.