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Ohio Citizens Stand Up to Fracking Industry

Fracking
Ohio Citizens Stand Up to Fracking Industry

Ohio Fracktion

Seven protesters arrested for blockading trucks containing highly toxic waste water produced from hydraulic fracturing on Nov. 30 were on trial in Youngstown. The action was carried out in response to the D&L Energy owned injection well in Youngstown, which is injecting waste water from Pennsylvania and Ohio deep into the ground.

In a courtroom packed with local supporters and members of Occupy Youngstown the seven were charged with M1 Disorderly Conduct, which carries a maximum 30-day term of confinement and a $250 fine per arrestee. Defendants entered a plea of “no contest” which accepts the facts but does not admit guilt. After being declared guilty of the reduced charge of M4 Disorderly Conduct protesters were fined $50 and court fees on recommendation of judge and prosecutor.

The Youngstown injection well has caused eight nearby earthquakes since March of 2011—seven of these with an epicenter located at the well. Arrested activist Ben Shapiro said, “Well casings and cement break and degrade in the best of circumstances leaking highly toxic chemicals, it’s far more dangerous at the epicenter of these earthquakes. How in the world can V&M Star and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources think this can be safe anywhere for our drinking water?”

Jaime Frederick of Youngstown Ohio has been sick ever since a fracked well on a neighboring property was drilled and known fracking fluid contaminants entered her well. “I was being poisoned and didn’t know it. My gall bladder had completely stopped working. I kept getting sicker and sicker.”

People across the country are pointing to the direct action that took place in Youngstown, Ohio, as an example of how citizens are willing to take a stand against the fracking industry. An example of this is Sandra Steingraber, an environmental biologist that mentioned the Ohio activists in her testimony against injection wells for fracking waste at a New York State Public hearing.

Fracking threatens citizens by exposing them to millions of gallons of water polluted with known toxins and carcinogens such as benzene, formaldehyde, heavy metals and surfactants. These chemicals cause extreme health effects including cancer and brain damage from endocrine disruption. A recent well leak in Broadview Heights sickened neighbors while local emergency responders could do nothing for 24 hours. In Chester Township 85 gallons of crude oil, gas and toxic waste water shot 20 feet in the air.

According to defendant Sean O’Toole, a 61-year old retired veteran and local resident, “hydrofracking companies causing irreparable damage to the land and people should be prosecuted and not those seeking to protect safe drinking water and community health. What’s going on is radical, not me.”

For more information, click here. To contribute to the regional legal defense fund for activists, click here.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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