Waterville, OH, residents are threatened by the same corporation that is bull dozing through Standing Rock, ND: Spectra Energy. The 42” Nexus Pipeline is proposed to cut through this small residential City, along with a compressor station. On November 8th, 60% of Waterville residents took a fierce stand to protect themselves against this fossil fuel infrastructure, adopting a CELDF-drafted Community Bill of Rights Charter Amendment.
The Amendment establishes Community Rights to clean air and water, and the right to local community self-government – and bans fracking infrastructure as a violation of those rights.
Residents learned about the pipeline and compressor station in the winter of 2016. Understanding these projects were a threat to residents and local ecosystems from the risks of leaks, explosions, and polluting emissions and noise, they worked with CELDF to educate neighbors and draft a rights-based charter amendment. They organized swiftly to place their measure on the ballot. Supporters faced the might of the chamber of commerce and economic development coalitions, including members from outside the community. Residents recognized these groups as industry allies, and sent a clear message at the ballot box: Their right to clean air and water is more important than corporate profits. Residents anticipate corporate threats and intimidation, and are unwilling to back down to corporate “raiders” invading Waterville.
Waterville residents see that level of commitment in their neighbors to the east, in Youngstown. There, a growing community group refuses to give up their fight to protect their City from fracking activities through a Community Rights Charter Amendment they drafted with CELDF. Supporters have run their measure six times in the last four years.
This fall, record funds were spent by oil and gas industry allies to stop the growing support for Community Rights in the City. The pipefitters union alone outspent residents 10:1. Aggressive tactics and misleading language were used at the polls to steer voters against the Amendment. Although growing numbers of residents recognize these efforts as benefiting outside fracking interests at the cost of their community, the measure was defeated 55% to 45%.
Undaunted, residents promise to continue their education and outreach, and bring another measure forward in 2017. Their continued motto: “You don’t lose until you quit!” They continue their fight to protect clean air, water, and future generations, joining the growing numbers of communities across Ohio who are fighting for their rights.