Though it’s only February, 2012 is shaping up to be a landmark year for the battle against fracking in Ohio, the Utica and Marcellus shales, the United States, and the rest of the world. Youngstown’s string of toxic earthquakes and robust movement of community organization and action has helped bring the devastation of fracking to public attention not only locally, but also in national media outlets including CNN and even global sources like al-Jazeera. The gas industry is increasingly on the defensive thanks to community-led protests that have continued to crop up across Ohio in Coitsville, Kent, Mansfield, Hubbard, Columbus and beyond. The constant public pressure of Ohio residents is starting to pay off: beyond the New Year’s moratorium on fracking wastewater injection in five wells near Youngstown, the Ohio Division of Natural Resources just announced a temporary hold on approval of any new injection well sites.
Yet in spite of these gains, an enormous amount of work remains to be done. Over 170 toxic, earthquake-causing wells remain in operation in Ohio, and the Obama administration has recently taken on a stronger public stance in support of expanded fracking operations in the Marcellus Shale and beyond even as the Bulgarian government bans fracking and more evidence of fracking-induced earthquakes crops up everywhere from Texas to England. Moreover, the industry’s propaganda machine has dialed up its attack on grassroots organizers across the Midwest in recent days, including publishing a personal attack on a Pennsylvania activist in response to his hard work for the movement to Occupy Well Street.
Now more than ever, it is critical that we stand united in the face of industry power. The frackers will convene this Tuesday and Wednesday in Columbus for the Ohio Energy Management Conference. If you are interested in meeting up in Columbus this week to stand up to the gas industry, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will not be silent and we will not be bought!