New congress new battle with environmentalists in Youngstown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Just a month into a new session of Congress and environmental activists are on the attack. Friday morning, members of Frack Free Mahoning Valley were joined by the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments complaining about possible relaxed methane standards for oil and gas production.

Activist Susie Beiersdorfer said the ight for environmental protection is an uphill battle at times.

“The system is fixed. You get good people into government but when they are working with a fixed system they are either silenced, bullied or bought off,” Beiersdorfer said.

Peggy Berry with the Alliance of Nurses for a Healthy Environments said the oil and gas companies have not been regulated enough.

“You know you are not under any kind of Clean Water Act; you are not under any kind of Clean Air Act because so far the oil and gas companies have had a free ride,” Berry said.

Jackie Stewart with “Energy In Depth” argues Ohio methane emissions from oil and gas actually dropped by more than half over the last six years and that the reductions occurred despite the fact that Ohio nearly doubled oil and gas production from 2012 to 2013.

YSU Geology Professor Ray Beiersdorfer said this week’s passage of the federal Stream Protection Act rolls back regulations and cuts standards that will allow, for instance, coal companies to dump into streams.

Christian Palich with the Ohio Coal Coalition said Beiersdorfer is wrong. He said companies have very strict rules to follow laid out by the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act.

“They are very much a Chicken Little Society where the sky is falling,” Palich said.

FrackFree Mahoning Valley has had six failed attempts to ban fracking in Youngstown but they are not giving up.

“Everybody is going to have to stand up and fight this or they are just going to have to suffer the consequences. We don’t lose until we quit,” Ray Beiersdorfer said.