Ohio communities over the past decade have worked hard to protect ecosystems and their communities from various harmful projects. They did the work of asserting democratic rights to alter and reform their government. They collected signatures, argued in court, battled in lopsided campaigns and even won a few only to have the courts overturn their hard work. They even filed a Civil Rights lawsuit, which is currently in appeal. Slowly, the belief in the illusion of democracy has been replaced by a desire to share what they have learned with others and an anger and desire to expose the system that allows the poisoning of water, air,soil, children and all life.

When the state house and senate introduced identical bills to commodify radioactive oil/gas drilling brine for the third time, it was more than Ohio Community Rights Network members could take. They had just seen their proposed laws that would have protected people and nature from this toxic waste shot down by the courts. You see these people have evidence that this brine is radioactive, that the industry is aware of this and has been for a long time. In fact,  the state itself passed a law after 9/11 to protect water supplies from being poisoned by radioactive contamination. 

While denying democratic participation to protect water, the state is itself flouting its own laws. So the people decided it was time for the government to enforce its own law and open an investigation into the corporations and the state actors violating this law. On June 21, 2021, letters and packets of information were delivered to State Attorney General Yost and eight county prosecutors laying out a case for them to start with. You can access the letters, information and media coverage at ohiocrn.org/toxic-trespass. On follow up with many of these law enforcement officials, the people were told to contact the very state agencies that the people want investigated!

Besides the obvious goal of stopping radioactive and toxic waste from getting into Ohio waterways, ecosystems and drinking water supplies, the volunteers and community members want to expose the current illusion of protection. They want people to understand that “corporate persons’ rights” and profits are being championed by the government at the people’s and nature’s expense. Once people see the illusion and fallacy, the goal is to take meaningful action, alongside the OHCRN, to change both the laws and Constitution of Ohio to recognize both rights and responsibilities of the people and their government to protect all humans and nature within the state. 

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