From the Communities United for Responsible Energy and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative late tHURSDAY:
CURE Listening Project exposes truth about residents’ experiences living in Utica Shale counties
On Thursday, October 2, Communities United for Responsible Energy (CURE) and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC) were joined by nearly 200 local residents and officials during the group’s highly-anticipated release of the Ohio Shale County Listening Project highlighting the affects of the Shale Fracking boom on local residents and their families at Christ Church 353 Moody Ave. SW).
“This meeting is not politically motivated – it is a reflection of what the people impacted by the shale boom want and need. It’s an opportunity for them to voice their concerns and get a place at the table when it comes to making policies that affect their neighborhoods and communities,” said Andrew LaVouge, a Columbiana County residentand CURE fellow.
The Listening Project, which solicited, summarized and shared the perspectives and observations of those directly experiencing the shale gas boom, was a collaborative effort by in eastern Ohio the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC), FracTracker.org, Laborers Local 809 of Steubenville, Policy Matters Ohio and Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services.
Over the course of six months, organizers from the Laborers Local 809 and OOC worked with a team of nearly 40 volunteers to survey nearly 800 people. Respondents included people from eastern Ohio, ranging from as far north as Portage County to as far south as Monroe County. A small number of respondents hail from across the border in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Respondents were ask various questions detailing their concerns, fears and hopes since the influx of the shale boom including, but not limited to what changes they’ve noticed since the arrival of shale gas drilling using horizontal hydraulic fracturing or fracking, what they felt about oil and gas development, and what they believed their community would be like once the boom ended.
During the public meeting, data collected from the Listening Project indicated several trends, which included an increase in overall traffic and traffic accidents in the area, increase in out-of town residents working in the industry and increases in rent cost.
In fact, when asked about changes noticed since the onset of the oil and gas-drilling boom, 40 percent of respondents mentioned an increase in traffic and traffic accidents, 15 percent mentioned an influx of out-of-towners who work for the industry, 14 percent of people said their community is more prosperous, 15 percent said it’s more expensive, 8 percent noticed changes in the landscape, and 43 percent of respondents have a negative view of the oil and gas-drilling boom.
“The traffic has been horrible. My husband and I were almost hit head on by a white truck that ran someone off the road so they didn’t hit us. I have had a near head on collision twice with water truck drivers with my grandchildren in the car. One driver was texting and another dozing,” said CURE Leader and 26-year Carrolton County resident, Debbie Albright.
CURE, OOC leaders and residentsalso had the opportunity to address their elected representatives and public officials directly.
The Communities United for a Responsible Environment (CURE campaign aims to develop a framework and broad-based organizing strategy toharness the dozens of small citizen groups and activists, and develop their leadership capacity to address fracking’s immediate and ong-term effects, as well as connecting that base to the progressive environmental movement. CURE is also dedicated to expanding OOC’s grassroots base to include farmers, rural communities, and first responders, and address fracking concerns in the faith community, with labor unions, and now, as fracking is increasing in densely populated areas, with urban communities of color.
For more information, visit www.ohorganizing.org
Formed in 2007, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC) is an innovative statewide organization that unites community organizing groups, labor unions, faith organizations, and policy institutes across Ohio. OOC currently consists of 15 member organizations with members in every major metropolitan area across the state, and also houses one of the nation’s largest movement building projects.
OOC’s vision is to organize everyday Ohioans to build a transformative base of power for the purpose of achieving social, racial and economic justice in Ohio. We carry out this mission by investing in a diverse portfolio of organizing methods, experimental strategies, non-partisan electoral programs, leadership training, and integration with policy organizations.