Pipelines are increasingly being used for fracking, and companies are not hesitant to use strong arm tactics to get the land they need for them.
A new pipeline is under construction in northeast Ohio, and this week residents had the chance to voice their concerns at a public meeting with company representatives.
Last summer I wrote about the Sierra Club's Water Sentinels program for testing water. Our town's anti-fracking activists have been using it at their homes for a while now, but around the time of my post we also began free monthly water testing for the community. We are careful to emphasize several caveats, though. The most important is that the testing is not comprehensive or EPA certified; it is not meant to be a substitute for a certified test. It measures a handful of items and is only meant to give a basic idea of water quality. Similarly, the testing would almost certainly not be admissible in a court of law; anyone with an eye on future court cases should go with an EPA certified lab. Read more about Testing water and building community
One of the under appreciated hazards of fracking is its effect on democracy. Fracking is a big, intrusive process - one that sucks up lots of water, creates enormous amounts of traffic and an ungodly amount of noise, etc. Setting aside the environmental dangers and health effects (!), the heavy industrialization involved in fracking guarantees that communities will be abundantly aware of it. Read more about "You quickly realize that no one is there for you but you know who? You. That's all you have."
Ohioans have experienced a number of different frustrations in trying to get their government to be responsive to their concerns about fracking. The biggest one may be the state's usurping of home rule of home rule on the issue. Ohio's Constitution had home rule - basically, the right of cities and towns to self-government - enshrined in it back in 1912, but in 2004 the state passed a law stripping localities of the right to legislate on the issue.
On the face of it, that wouldn't seem to be something that would pass judicial scrutiny. It would seem to be problematic to go to all the trouble of amending the Constitution to spell something out, then have the statehouse come back later on and say "yeah, not for that."
On the other hand, it's all just words on a page without anyone to respect it, right? The US Constitution says Congress shall pass no law regarding the establishment of a religion, but the only thing preventing Congress from doing just that is its sense of forbearance and its respect for tradition. It isn't as though representatives would be struck dead by bolts of lightning from Avenging Lady Justice if they did so. Read more about Home rule on that ballot this election season: activists versus institutions
The trustee meeting I attended Tuesday actually began over hundred years ago. In 1910 Ohio voters approved the calling of a constitutional convention, and in 1912 a whole series of amendments were adopted. The Ohio History Central link goes to a short but very good summary, and it's definitely worth taking a minute to read it. Read more about Trustees reject symbolic statement on fracking and home rule
The fracking industry has dramatically increased its activity in Portage county recently. In some cases the activity is unmistakably tangible (more on that next week), but the real action at the moment seems to be preparing the ground for the deluge. Read more about ODNR official: we'll let the public know what's happening after you can no longer object
Craig Unger has written a new book "Boss Rove: Inside Karl Rove’s Secret Kingdom of Power" about the mastermind of George Bush’s two successful but crooked runs at the US Presidency.
Rove, as Unger explains, is at the center of two of the biggest scandals of the Bush administration. The Valerie Plame Wilson affair and the U.S. attorneys’ scandal. Rove was ALMOST indicted for the Plame affair but as we all know, the 13th commandment is not to get caught, and the 14th commandment is if you get caught not to get prosecuted. (Especially easy if you have gamed the judicial system with cronies who selectively prosecute only members of the other Party!) Read more about HE'S BACK!!! Karl Rove, King of Election Fraud!
Today's Petidote is from Correntian ohio, who answered our pleas for more pet pictures with the lovely Miss B.B., part of an extended feral cat family. Thank you, ohio -- for taking care of them and for sharing them with us. Hat tip coming at ya!! And now for the tale (tail?) of Miss B.B. and company:
Miss B.B. is a feral cat who has decided I don’t suck.
Ohio voters last night voted overwhelmingly against both Republican and Democrat corporate-favoring policies in a referendum. Senate Bill 5, passed by the Republican-dominated legislature and signed into law by Republican governor John Kasich, was shot down by sixty-one percent, too large a margin for the GOP to rig the vote count in its favor. Read more about Ohio Voters Reject Senate Bill 5, Obamacare; Mississippi Defeats Anti-Abortion Amendment