Group Makes Second Attempt To Put Fracking Ban On Ballot

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The Athens Bill of Rights Committee submitted more than the required number of signatures to the city auditor’s office on Friday to place a fracking ban on the May primary ballot — a second attempt by the group.

According to a news release issued by the group on Saturday, 871 signatures were delivered to Athens Deputy Auditor Laura Kreider on Friday afternoon by BORC Chairman Dick McGinn.

The group had collected enough signatures to get an initiative on the November ballot, but the initiative was challenged by a group of residents represented by attorney Rusty Rittenhouse of Lavelle and Associates. The Athens County Board of Elections voted to uphold the challenge in August, preventing it from being placed on the 2013 ballot.

Lavelle and Associates filed similar objections to proposed fracking bans in the charter cities of Bowling Green and Youngstown in 2013, but the elections boards in those communities did not uphold the protests. Ballot measures were turned down by voters in both communities.

The first attempt by Athens BORC would have banned fracking and associated practices in the city of Athens and within 20 miles upstream from the city.

“The current initiative seeks only to ban deep-shale drilling and fracking waste transport inside the city limits,” states the BORC news release.

The initiative also includes a bill of rights, which invalidates the state’s pre-emptive laws granting special privileges to for-profit corporations over the rights of people to a healthy, clean and safe environment, according to BORC.

According to the petition, members of BORC include McGinn, Athens City Councilman Jeff Risner, Christine Hughes, Beverly Flanigan, Milena Miller and Michael Rowe.

The initiative will be available for review in the city auditor’s office for 10 days before being sent to the Athens County Board of Elections. If the signatures are validated by the elections board, the initiative will be placed on the May 6 primary election ballot in the city of Athens.

The complete language of the petition can be viewed online at