Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Concerned Citizens Say Public Meeting Needed Since Carcinogenic Chemicals Have Been Found in Youngstown Drinking Water

News Release:
Frackfree Mahoning Valley
Frackfree America National Coalition, based in Youngstown, Ohio
For Immediate Release: November 19, 2019
Contact: Lynn Anderson, M.Ed. Phone: 330-792-0428 or 234-201-8007
 Concerned Citizens Say Public Meeting Needs to be Held Since
Carcinogenic Chemicals Have Been Found in Youngstown's Drinking Water
Concerned citizens want to hear Youngstown Public Water’s plan to provide filtration to all their customers to eliminate the cancer risk caused by the chemicals now found in our drinking water. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) Tap Water Database Update(1), released October 22, 2019, revealed that Youngstown City Public Water System contains 7 cancer-causing chemicals. The City's water supplier, Mahoning Valley Sanitary District (MVSD) does not test for the first 6 of the following:

1. Bromodichloromethane
2. Dibromochloromethane
3. Trichloroacetic Acid
4. Chloroform
5. Hexavalent Chromium
6. Dichloroacetic Acid
7. Total Trihalomethanes

When we examined the MVSD website to see what they do test for we were horrified that they have listed "fracking lab results" and show how much Benzene, Ethylbenzene, Toluene, Xylene and Bromide is currently in our drinking water.
We are concerned that the Trihalomethanes previously determined to be present in our drinking water at unsafe levels now contain the more dangerous brominated forms.
Youngstown Public Water Engineer Dan Blakely sent a letter to all customers in September 2015 when the U.S. EPA cited them for unsafe levels of trihalomethanes in our drinking water. It warned that drinking this water over time could cause cancer.
Given the well-known events in Flint, Michigan resulting in the contamination of their water supply, what concerns us most is the possibility of a similar pattern of dismissal of citizen concerns by state and local officials.
We need officials to take action to protect the public health and safety immediately.
We would like to ask for a public meeting to be held within the first two weeks of December to address this serious issue. We would like to invite James W. Jones, Chief Water Engineer of the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District, Harry L. Johnson, III, Water Commissioner of Youngstown, and representatives of the Environmental Working Group.
Citizens want to hear MVSD’s and Youngstown Public Water System’s plan to provide filtration to all their customers to eliminate the cancer risk caused by these chemicals being in our drinking water.

For more information or media inquiries, please see   Email:  or call:  234-201-8007

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Youngstown City drinking water consumer report

Friday, April 12, 2019

OH SB33 Testimony by Rev. Joan Van Becelaere, Executive Director of UUJO (Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio)

Opponent Testimony – SB 33
April 1, 2019
Rev. Joan VanBecelaere Executive Director, Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio, Columbus OH
Chairman Eklund, Vice Chair Manning, Ranking Member Thomas and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee,
I am a Unitarian Universalist minister and the Executive Director of Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio which includes the UU congregations in Ohio and their many members. I am also a concerned citizen of Ohio and I am deeply opposed to SB 33.
Others will argue about how this bill attacks freedom of speech and freedom of association. I want to also raise the argument that this bill attacks freedom of religion and prohibits justice-oriented faith traditions from exercising what they believe is their religious duty to engage in public witness at those places where the health and life of people are endangered and the sacred integrity of the environment is put in jeopardy.
SB 33 does not directly focus on preventing terrorist attacks. Why, then is it needed? The major purpose seems to be to discourage justice-focused organizations and their members from protesting oil and gas sites that pose a danger to health and pollute land, water and air.
Ohio law already prohibits ‘criminal trespass’, ‘aggravated trespass’, and ‘criminal mischief’ to property. This bill only serves to increase penalties for citizens and non-profit organizations who engage in non-violent public witness at critical infrastructure sites. It was originally drafted by the oil and gas industry in response to the public outcry at Standing Rock and other locations where landowners and fellow citizens protested large oil, gas, and pipeline projects.
The bill adds a new prohibition under the offense of “aggravated trespass”, that expressly prohibits a person from entering or remaining on a “infrastructure facility” with purpose to destroy or “tamper” with the facility. And the bill adds a new prohibition under the offense of “criminal mischief” that prohibits a person from destroying or “improperly tampering” with a “infrastructure facility”.
SB 33 makes violation of these new prohibitions third degree felonies. These undefined acts of tampering or intending to tamper do not have to be violent in nature to be judged worthy of a felony conviction under SB
33. And the definitions of “tamper” or “intend to tamper” are wide open to a variety of possible interpretations. One person’s non-violent, faith-based public witness may be another’s “tampering.”
And then, SB 33 specifies that any organization found guilty of the vaguely defined act of “complicity” in a violation under this bill, is to be punished with a fine ten times the maximum that can be imposed on an individual for a third-degree felony. This means possible fines up to $100,000.
The bill also holds a person or organization that pays a violator’s fines or damages in a civil action, liable for any judgment against the person who may have ‘tampered’ with the infrastructure facility. Thus, if a faith-based justice group or a church is found complicit (whatever that means) when one of its members is found guilty of “intending to tamper” or “improperly tampering” with a “critical” facility, the church may face a $100,000 fine. Of course, this would destroy most churches and most faith-based organizations.
And a church may not assist a member in paying a fine in a civil action. Which blocks a congregation from its religious duty to care for its members in times of distress and need.
SB 33 would criminalize the ministry of justice-focused churches and faith-based justice organizations who engage in and promote peaceful public protest at critical infrastructure sites. Congregations from many different faith traditions in Ohio could be held liable for the crime of complicity, be forced to pay fines that would destroy the, and be unable to assist their members in need. This constitutes an attack on freedom of religion. People of faith who feel called by God to speak truth to power and stand up for environmental justice could find their congregations deeply damaged or destroyed under SB 33. It would become a crime to assemble for public witness at those facilities that are the worst offenders for environmental pollution, that create health crises in our most vulnerable communities. It would be illegal for people of faith to speak truth to power at those pipelines and fracking wells that expand fossil fuel use and destroy our climate.
In summary, SB 33 is a dangerous assault on civil liberties: freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. And SB 33 also attacks freedom of religion and the right to speak in holy witness to those who believe their economic power is threatened by protest. This bill is clearly intended to keep faith groups as well as environmental groups on the sidelines for fear of being found guilty of complicity and facing their own destruction.
When Americans abandon their commitment to freedom of speech and assembly and freedom of religion, the world will notice, and disaster will follow. SB 33 deserves to be condemned by all people of faith.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Ohio Residents Open Legal Fund To Stop Fracking Waste Injection Well - Please Support!

Residents of Brookfield, Ohio and the surrounding area have been lawfully opposing five (yes,  five!) proposed toxic fracking waste injection wells planned to be constructed and operated way too near family homes, a stream,  businesses, and government buildings in a region that we believe is now man-made earthquake-prone and is an abandoned coal mine area.

Will you please help us stop this insanity? Please donate if able and please share our GoFundMe, thank you!

Gloria Douglas is a grandmother who has lived in her beloved Wyngate Manor home for 31years. Gloria calls it her “forever-home” because she can’t imagine ever having to leave the home she’s lovingly cared for and lived in all these years.[1]

Gloria’s home is way too close to waste injection well number five – the one we are currently trying to lawfully stop.[2] Her home is in the below image which is courtesy of Ted Auch, Great Lakes Program Coordinator, The Fractracker Alliance,

There are hundreds of homes with families living nearby in Brookfield.  It is tragic and astonishing that this heavy industrial injection well operation could even happen to the hundreds of people who live so close to this injection well.

READ MUCH MORE at campaign description:

[1] “Brookfield residents rally to stop injection wells,” by Michael Roknick, The Herald (Sharon, PA), April 7, 2018 ;
 “Brookfield one step away from getting more injection wells,” 21 WFMJ – TV News, by Glenn Stevens, March 21, 2018,

[2] “Fracking waste injection wells proposed to be sited way too near family homes, businesses and government buildings:   A heartfelt plea for help to lawfully stop them, Blog post, Frackfree America National Coalition, January 19,2018