Confronting Ohio Challenges

by Ron Prosek

As FaCT and OHR volunteer visit various communities in Ohio, too often we hear that citizens do not want to “get involved.”  We’re talking about communities, in some cases, that have been virtually occupied by the shale industry.  We’re also talking about communities that have just been recently confronted with shale development challenges.  Why does this attitude seem so widespread?

The people in these communities have put forth various reasons.  Some say it’s no use to go against the big money involved.  Some point to the fact that state government never seems to act to defend the people and their communities.  Some say it’s just easier to pick up and move on and move out if you can afford to do that.

I certainly can’t offer any easy comfort to these folks.  The industry does have a lot of money, and they often have governments in their pockets. And yes, if you see it coming at you soon enough, you might be able to pull up stakes and not lose too much financially.  However, you can only run so far.  You may find respite somewhere else for a while, but the shale industry keeps expanding its reach.  And if it’s not drill pads, it could be frack waste injection wells, compressor stations, cracker plants, or pipelines that will threaten your peace and safety.

So why not stand and fight?  As one fighter in a small Ohio community said with regard to the injection wells in his area, “I may lose this fight, but I’m not going down without a fight.”  Maybe if this fighting spirit spreads, maybe if the fighters stand together, just maybe we can win some of these battles.  And remember, resistance in one community can be the model and the inspiration for resistance in other communities.

More than ever, Ohio families and communities must adopt the fighting spirit and a spirit of solidarity with each other.  We can learn from each other.  We can encourage each other, and if we grow a statewide movement—perhaps even a regional movement—we can win.