Industry Intimidates Peaceful Protestors

While peacefully maintaining their blockade, Jackson was lightly hit by a soil truck.  Despite his care to make sure that they could in fact see him, the truck continued to move forward and push against him, in a blatant effort to frighten the protesters with the threat of physical harm.  Though the police had allegedly already been called by V&M, they were not yet on the scene.  Photos and video has been recorded of the aggressive action against an unarmed young man, and will be posted here shortly.

Since then, seven protesters have been arrested, they will be arraigned tomorrow morning.  We will update with more details when we get them.


Activists Block Fracking Injection Well

Activists Block Fracking Injection Well

YOUNGSTOWN, OH. A group of 7 activists blocked an access gate to an injection well owned by V&M Star, preventing toxic wastewater from being injected into the well. The action is in response to the Y.O.U.N.G Expo 2011.  Taking place today in Youngstown, it is the first natural gas and hydro-fracturing industry conference in the state of Ohio.

“There is no guarantee that these toxins don’t migrate into drinking water, only a guarantee that these companies put profits before our health and safety,” said anti-fracking activist Ben Shapiro, a member of the blockade.

Fracking has polluted drinking water supplies in communities all across the country. ProPublica has identified more than 1,000 cases of water contamination near drilling sites documented by courts, states, and local governments.[1]

The injection of brine water into deep rock formation can lubricate faults[2], and is probably the cause of the only 7 recorded earthquakes with epicenters in Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.[3] Earthquakes began after the injections began at the occupied well in Youngstown.

Jackson Kusiak, who was blockading, said “We want to make it clear to the Natural Gas Industry and to our representatives that fracking is unsafe and irresponsible, and not the solution for our country’s energy problems.”

[1] Lutsgarten, Abraham. “Buried secrets: Is natural gas drilling endangering U.S. water supplies?” ProPublica. November 13, 2008. As cited by Food and Water Watch.

[3] Associated Press. “Youngstown Earthquakes linked to Fracking?” Oct. 31, 2011.

Fract vs Fiction

(From NEOGAP website)


MYTH: Shale oil/gas development creates jobs and is a boon for the economy.

REALITY: Oil/gas development can create jobs and generate tax revenues, but these are often
far less and don’t last as long as the industry often claims.
Between late 2007 and 2010, the Marcellus Shale boom created fewer than 10,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania, much less than the 48,000 figure reported in recent news stories, statements and commentaries.2
Also, job creation and job loss patterns in this industry tend to follow the “boom and bust” cycle typical in energy development regions.3    Recent studies on economic benefits funded by the industry don’t even factor in the high costs associated with oil/gas development like road and bridge repairs, declines in farming and tourism revenue, and reduced property values and property tax revenues.4

MYTH: Your water will be safe from drilling and fracking because there has never been a proven case of water contamination from hydraulic fracturing.

REALITY: Hydraulic fracturing fluids contain dozens of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, biocides, ethylene glycol, and hydrochloric acid, chemicals which have known adverse health effects and which are being injected through and near aquifers used for drinking water.11    A large proportion of fracturing fluids remain underground, and these fluids have been known to travel thousands of feet from wells.12    Also, cases of methane migration into water wells are increasingly being documented.13
Despite this growing evidence, oil/gas industry representatives frequently claim that there are no documented cases of water contamination from hydraulic fracturing.
Now, the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization engaged in the debate over the safety of fracking, has unearthed a 24-year-old case study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that unequivocally says such contamination has occurred. The report, from West Virginia, states that “the residual fracturing fluid migrated into (the resident’s) water well.”14
And, this is probably not an isolated incident. “Researchers, however, were unable to investigate many suspected cases because their details were sealed from the public when energy companies settled lawsuits with landowners.”15
Thanks to a special exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act, companies don’t have to disclose the chemicals they use in fracturing fluids. Without this information, it can be difficult to prove scientifically that the contamination was from hydraulic fracturing and to link particular chemicals with specific oil/gas wells. If there were full disclosure and radioisotope tagging during hydraulic fracturing for each well, it’s unlikely that the industry could make this claim or continue to deny responsibility or liability when wells are contaminated.
Current Ohio oil and gas regulations allow drilling right next to important streams and in floodplains. Although they require baseline testing of water wells before drilling commences within 300 feet of said water wells, under the Ohio Revised Code, this applies only in urbanized—not in rural—areas.16


The Marcellus shale gas industry wants us to believe that they are care takers of Ohio, that their use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, and related operations will be great for the Midwest and the Rust Belt. We know that’s not true. For generations, industries like theirs have come and gone, leaving tragedies in their wake, both economically and environmentally. We’ve seen them drill thousands of wells in Pennsylvania and receive major violations, cause blowoutsspills, and air pollution.

On November 30, the leaders of the drilling industry in Ohio will be meeting for the first time at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, OH and they are expecting us to sit back at home and watch their ads running every commercial break on TV.

We say to them, expect resistance!
Groups from around the country are welcome to join us, not just in Youngstown, but for an entire day of action.
We encourage groups to do their own actions including, but not limited to:

  • Meeting with local officials to discuss a ban ordinance in your town (see the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund for more examples).
  • Doing actions at fracking sites near you! See Ohio Marcellus and Utica permits here.
  • Drop banners from overpasses, buildings, cliffs, and trees in view of the public that day, so that no one in Youngstown or where you live misses our message that fracking is not welcome.
  • Do educational events in your town or campus including screenings of Gasland, teach-ins, and street theatre like frack fluid lemonade stands.

Thank you for your support!