Thursday, May 31, 2012

Call For Open Public Forum In Light Of Private Closed Meeting Attended By Governor Kasich, Brookfield Officials

Frackfree Mahoning Valley                                        News Release
For Immediate Release: May 31, 2012
Contact: Susie Beiersdorfer:  Phone:  234-201-0402  or E-mail: ____________________________________________________
  Youngstown, Ohio – A Youngstown-based group of concerned citizens, Frackfree Mahoning Valley, is calling for televised, open public forum debates on the topic of fracking and related processes.  They believe this is especially important in light of yet another closed-to-the-public meeting on fracking to be attended by Ohio Governor Kasich, officials, legislators, and gas drilling representatives on May 31 in Brookfield, Ohio at the Yankee Lake Ballroom.
“As the controversy surrounding risks of fracking and related processes accelerates nationwide, the public needs more openness, more transparency, and   more answers – not less.  The general public, the very people and families whose health and safety are directly affected by official decisions regarding fracking, should have a say and an important seat at the table. They do not at this meeting.  Officials are not getting the whole picture of the risks of fracking by refusing to allow public feedback in this setting. Especially when the possibility of selling mineral rights related to a park and a cemetery is being mentioned, as quoted in an article in the, the public needs to have a say and knowledge of what is being considered,” said geologist Susie Beiersdorfer of Frackfree Mahoning Valley.
(For more information see a news report from the, “Drilling stakeholders’ meeting closed to public,” by Sandy Scarmack, [May 30, 2012]:
  Frackfree Mahoning Valley believes that state officials holding meetings that are closed to the public, rushing legislation, imposing "gag rules" on doctors, giving special exemptions from law for the gas and oil industry and special "trade secrets" legislation do not provide much-needed transparency. These seemingly secretive measures do not inspire the public to have confidence in their elected representatives’ willingness to publically acknowledge legitimate public health and safety concerns and grievances.
Frackfree Mahoning Valley says that Ohioans should be able to hear real dialogue and actual debates between differing viewpoints in a town hall setting where people can speak freely. They say that Ohioans still have questions and concerns related to fracking  that have been left unanswered.
For this reason, Frackfree Mahoning Valley is calling upon legislators to participate in publicized, preferably televised, real debates among state officials, experts, authorities, physicians, public health experts, public advocates, and the general public. In this election season, voters in Ohio, especially as a pivotal voting state, deserve transparency and an honest dialogue that is open to media and public scrutiny.  The public deserves to hear a real debate about fracking and the issues that are so important for all Ohioans and their families.
That dialogue could include many items of interest including fracking – related earthquakes and preparedness plans, the disposal of toxic fracking waste in deep injection wells, possible risks to drinking water and air pollution, a public awareness campaign to enlighten landowners regarding how signing a mineral lease might adversely affect their mortgage agreement, increased fracking-related truck traffic, and more.
Ohioans and especially medical professionals need a clarification of the doctor's "gag rule" clause in SB 315 since it has reportedly been revised. Citizens need to know how their private medical relationships with their doctors might be affected and how physicians' ability to freely discuss public health fracking concerns with their colleagues at medical conferences might be affected. Physicians should not be encumbered with concerns put upon them by the gas and oil industry or by misguided legislation.
Members of Frackfree Mahoning Valley agree that the risks of fracking and related processes such as deep injection wells for disposing of fracking toxic waste can no longer be ignored or swept under the rug.  This is a public health and safety issue that must be emphasized.
As an example of crucial questions that state officials need to hear and address, Frackfree Mahoning Valley cites the following highly informative NBC 4 news video and report titled “NBC4 Investigates: What’s In The Drilling Waste Water Traveling Into Ohio?” (5/23/2012).
The NBC4 news report examined just what happens to the massive amounts of toxic fracking-related waste coming into Ohio from several states for injection into deep wells and what exactly is in the waste.
Some viewers of the news report might deduce that if citizens and local officials are not allowed to know what exactly is in the “brine” toxic waste, isn’t the untested substance then able to be deemed quarantinable?
See the NBC4 video and news report here:
  Frackfree Mahoning Valley joins many other groups and individuals who are also questioning the oil and gas shale drilling industry’s efforts to drill near schools, especially in light of the health risks associated with gas drilling. This is also a topic that needs be addressed in local public debates.
A recent news video report by CBS4 Denver shows a moving effort by some Colorado mothers to protect their children from potential health effects of drilling near their local schools.
See the CBS Denver 4 report, titled, “Students Get Involved in Fight Against Fracking In Erie,” (May 22, 2012)  here:
  Susie Beiersdorfer said:  “We hope that someone will step forward to work with us to make these proposed televised debates a reality.”
  See a previous Frackfree Mahoning Valley press release titled, “Citing Doctors’ ‘Gag Rule,’ Fracking Opponents Want an Immediate Delay on the Ohio SB 315 Vote Planned for May 23” :
For media inquiries or more information, e-mail: 
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