UPDATE: Check out this amazing video of Columbus dad Andrew Sidesinger, from the good folks at Plunderbund
Hundreds of people are headed to Columbus this weekend for the biggest action against fracking in Ohio’s history. The main event – a huge rally and march to Ohio’s statehouse – falls on Sunday June 17th, which also happens to be Father’s Day.
Family is an important theme of our long term struggle against climate change. The work we do now will have the biggest impact on the next generation and those beyond. We are either leaving a planet deeply wounded by climate change, or a sustainable community that continues to offer the wonders that we ourselves have grown up knowing.
That’s why it’s so telling that so many people are turning out when we’d normally be spending time celebrating family: Ohioans understand the stakes of this fight, and are willing to make sacrafices to be there – not despite, but because of their families.
So even though 17th is Father’s Day, I think I agree with Gwen Fischer from Concerned Citizens Ohio in Portage County, as she put it in a recent email: “Make this the best father’s day present ever: Bring your father to regain our democracy! If you are a father, bring your children to witness democracy in action.”
I’m hoping that you can help us give one of the best possible gifts to Ohio’s fathers and families: a first step towards a frack-free future.
Today in Akron, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed SB 315 into law, turning one of the worst fracking bills in America into the worst fracking laws.
Ohioans now know clearly where their representatives at all levels of state government stand – and unfortunately, most are choosing to stand with their donors in the oil and gas industry, rather than their constituents. Gov. Kasich himself has taken over $200,000 from the gas industry, and has now more than adequately repaid the favor.
SB 315 eliminates all public notice for fracking well permits, opens gaping loopholes in disclosure laws that allow fracking companies to keep toxic chemical cocktails secret from communities, establishes the lowest tax rates on the gas industry in the country, and gags doctors from discussing the health impacts of fracking.
On June 17th, Ohioans will be mobilizing to show Gov. Kasich and his friends in the Statehouse that there will be consequences for choosing to frack Ohio. The largest mobilization against fracking in Ohio’s history will descend on Columbus, and take over the statehouse to pass people’s legislation that will defend us from the gas industry.
The action begins at 11 AM on Sunday at Arch Park in Downtown Columbus, and then march to the Statehouse. Sign up here to join us.
In about 10 days Ohio’s anti-fracking movement will be gathering in Columbus for a big rally – Don’t Frack Ohio. Today we found out that big oil will be there to greet us.
The American Petroleum Institute, the largest oil and gas lobby in America, has an event planned on Saturday in Columbus meant to smear Josh Fox, director of the film Gasland, and Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org. We now have no doubts that industry will turn out in a big way for our rally too.
This puts us in a critically important position. If the media sees a small anti-fracking rally met by a bigger pro-fracking action on the 17th… well, the impact should be obvious. Forgive the tired expression, but right now, we have to go big or go home.
Our movement is better organized to exercise people power than big oil and gas, and we need to show it on the 17th if we want to beat the frackers’ attack on Ohio. We can’t let Gov. Kasich and the oil industry’s paid representatives in government take cover behind an astroturf campaign by big oil.
Thanks to you, the gas industry knows that there is a grassroots movement rising to stop them. That’s progress, but it also means we have a lot more work to do. I’m very grateful to be a part of this growing movement – I hope to see you soon.
We’re planning a big weekend of action and training to stop the fracking industry. The main event is on June 17th, when we will take over the statehouse and hold a people’s assembly to pass the legislation we need to protect Ohio from the fracking industry. We just confirmed the details for the action – here’s what you need to know:
WHAT: Don’t Frack Ohio Rally and People’s Assembly WHERE: McPherson Commons (aka Arch Park) in Downtown Columbus Ohio WHEN: Rally begins at 11 AM at the commons, followed by a march and takeover of the Statehouse. We’ll march back and finish at the commons by 3 PM WHO: The Ohio anti-fracking movement joined by allies from across the country as well as Bill McKibben from 350.org and Josh Fox, director of Gasland
Also, we’re finalizing our plans for our training and strategy sessions, which will be held from the 14th to the 16th at the Ohio State Urban Arts Center in Downtown Columbus. Here’s what we have planned:
Thursday June 14th, beginning at 11 AM
Presentation on the overall state of fracking in Ohio
Strategy Sessions and campaign updates led by local organizers from across Ohio
Trainings on campaign strategy and tactics
Art Build: big props for the action on Sunday
Movie or Speakers, TBA
Friday, June 15th, beginning at 9 AM
SB 315 and the politics of fracking
Trainings on identifying allies in the fight against fracking
Workshops on local strategies, faith organizing, legal tactics and more
De-escalation and march marshal trainings
Art build: signs and banners
Local bands and dance party!
Saturday, June 16th, beginning at 9 AM
Non-violent direct action training
March in Pride Parade
Continue workshops from Friday
Intensive trainings on direct action and strategy
Panel with Bill McKibben, Josh Fox and others TBA.
As of this weekend, over 1000 people have signed up to tell Gov. John Kasich and the bought-and-sold representatives of the gas industry in the statehouse: Don’t Frack Ohio!
This action is growing because people are fed up with the way that the gas industry has corrupted our democracy – in Ohio alone they’ve spent millions of dollars to make sure that the Assembly passes laws like SB 315, one of the worst fracking laws in the country, giving the gas industry carte blanche to threaten the health and safety of Ohioans with no notice, public comment or effective disclosure of dangerous fracking chemicals.
Ohio’s State Assembly just passed SB 315, one of the worst fracking laws in the nation.
This bill fails to reinvest in Ohio communities, fails to adequately protect them from the toxic impacts of the fracking industry, and fails to help Ohio address the growing climate crisis.
The bill heading to Gov. Kasich’s desk creates bigger health and safety loopholes and less taxation than almost any other place in the country, opening up Ohio to the worst excesses of the fracking industry. Doctors will be gagged from talking openly about the sickness seeping into the water, and the gas industry will keep all of the profits flowing out of our communities.
The rumblings you hear when this bill is signed is not the sound of another injection well caused earthquake (though another is now likely inevitable) – it is the rumblings of a backlash against the politicians who have been bought out with millions of dollars of the gas industry’s money, and have chosen to sacrifice Ohio in return.
The rumblings will become an uproar next month when we take over the streets and statehouse in Columbus to tell Gov. Kasich: Don’t Frack Ohio! Click here to join us then.
The industry has told Ohioans to prepare for thousands of new wells beginning as soon as they can get away with. Here are some of the worst things about this bill that you need to know:
Key portions of the bill were written, word for word, by the gas industry. Gov. Kasich and the fracking industry’s biggest supporters adopted model legislation proposed by the industry to set disclosure and key safety rules.
Fracking companies can hide which chemicals they use in the fracking process by calling them ‘trade secrets’. That means they are exempt from telling you what they put in your water. What little they do disclose is 60 days after drilling takes place, too late for communities to test to show what was in their water before drilling, rendering the disclosure meaningless.
The gas industry pays nothing for the mess they create. Gov. Kasich’s minor tax on individual wells is offset by new tax breaks on property taxes and other giveaways, which means the gas industry will pay less in Ohio taxes than they do in any other state in the country.
No citizen notification or input will be allowed on any part of the fracking industry. There is no public notice, no public comment, and no right to appeal for drill sites, pipelines, or compressor stations.
A new study of tax rates shows that Gov. Kasich’s proposed tax on gas wells will leave Ohio with the lowest taxation rate of any major shale state in the country. Under the law, Ohioans will be receiving less, while giving away more of their rights to the gas industry, all for the blessing of welcoming a toxic industry into the state.
The fracking industry takes a heavy toll on taxpayers. Whether from road damage caused by dramatically increased truck traffic, public health risks from fracking chemicals, or dealing with the aftermath of climate change fueled weather disasters – the industry imposes substantial costs on Ohioans. The Governor’s meager tax will cover only a small portion of these costs, potentially making fracking revenue negative for the state overall.
Despite this, the industry has raised objections to even this small tax. Further giveaways are unacceptable – If covering the costs of fracking makes it financially infeasible, that is perhaps the strongest argument for ending the practice entirely.