By Nate Ebert, Spokesperson Appalachia Resist!
Release date: Sept 8, 2012
On September 7 the status conference for Madeline ffitch, the Athens County resident who faces a fifth degree felony charge for blocking a frack-waste injection well was held at the Athens County Courthouse. The prosecution continued to ask that Madeline be disallowed from peacefully and legally participating in any Athens County anti-fracking protest, while counsel for the defense argued that this violates the defendant’s first amendment rights. After the conference, Madeline and her legal counsel Bob Fitrakis made statements to press and supporters.
They noted this week’s U.S geological survey study showing that the frack-waste being dumped in Ohio shows radioactivity levels over 3000 times higher than federal safety standards for drinking water. They also noted the lax standards for Class II injection well safety in Ohio. Madeline said, “When government ignores its citizens, principled and conscientious people must act. The dumping of toxic radioactive waste here threatens the entire population of Appalachian Ohio. Citizens must act. They must. This is no less than a matter of life and death.”
Teresa Mills of the Buckeye Forest Council then released damning information documenting the years of gross safety violations at the Hazel Ginsburg injection well, where Madeline was arrested. She revealed that the well has had consistent violations, problems, leaking, and complaints as far back as 1986, and has periodically been ordered shut down, with no adequate resolution of the violations. Mills said, “The Ginsburg Well – the one that Madeline put her freedom on the line for – is the worst in the state of Ohio. And I have looked at all 177 Injection wells.” We invite you to listen to Mills’ full statement, where she details the rampant violations of the Hazel Ginsburg well over many years, charging that it should be shut down.
As the fracking wing of the energy industrial complex continues its assault on Appalachia and creeps its way into our foothills, citizens are mobilizing. After Madeline’s arrest on June, 26th, 2012, community members gathered to show their support of her action, enthusiastically voicing their opposition to the unsafe practices associated with fracking. The momentum of this resistance has been growing ever since. It is with this enthusiasm that Appalachia Resist! is born. We stand in solidarity with others who act to resist the poisoning and exploitation of Appalachia. We aim to erase the concept of “environmental sacrifice zones”. We will participate in the creation of resilient communities that are able to advocate for their rights to clean air and water.
No longer will we simply plead with the state to protect us from environmental and health hazards which the energy mega-industry thrusts upon us. At present, our state agencies are in the pocket of the oil and gas industry, and are not protecting Ohio citizens. We stand in solidarity with Madeline ffitch and will support her case. In addition, we will work with our community to build a strong resistance to the domination of the oil and gas industry. The fracking industry places profits before all else, and uses advertising, cultural institutions, and even our government to persuade us that their choice is the only choice:
Poverty or Poison?
WE CHOOSE NEITHER: APPALACHIA RESIST!
Watch Madeline ffiitch’s Sept. 7, 2012, statement: