On Tuesday, voters in Youngstown, Ohio, gave the fracking industry carte blanche to continue pumping chemicals into the ground beneath them and pumping natural gas out.
A city charter amendment that would have outlawed hydraulic fracturing in the city was rejected by voters, with the unofficial final vote tally showing 3,821 votes against and 2,880 in favor. The ballot measure would also have banned new pipelines in the city and prevented oil-field waste from being transported through the city.
A fracking boom is underway in Ohio, especially in its east, where Youngstown is located. But the boom has not brought with it many jobs for Ohioans, despite promises otherwise, as most of the work is being done by specialists who've come in from other states. It has, however, brought with it water pollution problems.
Opposition to the ballot measure was spearheaded by a business-backed group calling itself Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment. That group was formed especially to defeat the ballot measure, and it easily outspent the measure's backers. In campaigning, the business group had described the ballot measure as unconstitutional, far-reaching, and unenforceable, and claimed it would send the wrong kind of message to the business community.