Fracking activists consider fracking well protest successful

The fight against fracking is far from over for local protest group Appalachia Resists, whose members created a blockade at Ginsburg Injection Well in Athens County Monday.

The protest was the finale of the group’s “action camp” this past weekend and was at the same well site where Appalachia Resists member Madeline ffitch was arrested in June for chaining herself to concrete barrels to shut down the site.

“(During the protest) we did block the injection well and we are demanding that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources shuts down the well,” said ffitch, 31, who lives in Athens County. 

After continuing the peaceful protest for about three hours, the group decided to leave the property when an Athens County Sheriff Deputy arrived.

“(Appalachia Resists) organized the rally and is completely committed to nonviolent action,” ffitch said. “When the police arrived they spoke with our lawyer and at that point we decided we had been there for a couple of hours and … felt we had accomplished our goals, so we left.”

The group’s concerns began after they discovered that the well has been under suspension and has had numerous violations and orders from ODRN to shut down since the 80s.

“We think for a well like this to be in operation, there is a major disaster waiting to happen,” ffitch said.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which regulates drilling and mining in the state, attempted to strengthen underground drilling regulations in July in response to the seismic activity in Youngstown that was tied to fracking well leaking.

“I don’t think it’s that (ODNR) can’t enforce the rules,” said Grace Hall, 34, who is an Appalachia Resists member. “I think it’s more that they don’t … and that’s because they are in the pocket of the oil and gas industry. “

The group considered the peaceful protest a success, but Hall said group knows there is more work to be done.

“While today's protest has brought much needed attention to this issue, my ultimate objective would be to shut down the Ginsburg Well,” Hall said. “It’s clear that they are not serving the interest of the people. So, who’s interests are they really serving?”

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