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Environmental Bill of Rights sought in Kent

Published: June 19, 2014 4:00 AM

In the 1970s, the oil and gas industry started lobbying in Columbus for legislation that would exempt it from maintaining clean air and water standards and other environmental safety measures. It wanted the future right to unobstructed drilling.

Residents of charted cities and villages or statutory cities in Ohio can compose and circulate an initiative petition detailing a local Bill of Rights providing for certain rights and, equally as important, certain prohibitions. Residents need the right to know, as well: to know about threats and what can be done about them.

Kent residents are fortunate to live in a chartered city. The Kent Environmental Rights Group, with the help of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, has composed such a Bill of Rights and hopes to obtain enough signatures on its petitions from Kent voters to get the Bill of Rights on the November ballot as a Kent City Charter amendment.

If the amendment is enacted, residents of Kent will gain the collective right to protect their air and water, particularly the right to keep their famous high-quality water safe from either fracking drilling operations or fracking waste injection.

Some issues are politically partisan. KERG's initiative is not. The effort to amend the Kent City Charter comes down to a simple question: Do Kent residents want control over their local environment, particularly the quality of their shower and coffee water? KERG members are currently gathering signatures of registered Kent voters, with 2,000 signatures as their goal. If enough signatures are validated, Kent voters can choose to add the Bill of Rights to the Kent City Charter in November. KERG hopes that Kent voters say "Yes!"

Mim Jackson, Kent

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ohioh111b111y Jun 19, 2014 7:26 PM

childofgod, little r republican.oldben:  you all seem to know what this group is all about.

If this group is so greedy and threatening, could you please be so kind as to explain HOW and give some examples?  I would like a starting point to research.  thanks

childofgod Jun 19, 2014 2:00 PM

Ms Jackson's letter states "Some issues are politically partisan. KERG's initiative is not." That's ridiculous! Of course this is partisan, and most of us can see that. You assume only you can protect the air and water, and yet Kent's "famous high-quality water" came about during the recent past when you claim the the private sector has been getting exemptions from governmental air and water quality standards. So how did that happen, or is it possible you are wrong? It happened because we already have more than adequate rules and regulations to protect the air and water. Were you around when pollution from the Akron Rubber Plants was floating east to our area? That's all been corrected now by the early Environmental movement, and new technology, and those laws and equipment still exist. But as usual, the pedulum swings wide when change happens, and now it's time to be more reasonable by making sure that "job-killing" new regs are NOT adopted until the promoters can prove, with verified evidence, that pollution is actually happening. Your fears are not enough to motivate me, or most of us, to continually add more burdens to businesses. PROVE IT! First prove that we have a problem, not by screaming or printing false statements, but prove a problem exists first, then we'll listen to possible solutions. (Man, I'm so glad we have Free Speech in this Country! It's just great, for all sides...)


little_r_republican Jun 19, 2014 12:31 PM

Follow the money...the greenie weenies are not what they want you to bewieve.

oldbenlucus Jun 19, 2014 8:58 AM

The KEC and The Kent Environmental Rights Group have been and are a greater threat to the Kent enviroment then fracking or drilling will ever be. The taxpayers need a Bill of Rights to protect themselves from these people