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Gubernatorial Hopeful Ohio Vows To Ban All Oil & Gas Drilling

Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich—a vocal opponent of fracking—vows to ban all oil and gas drilling in the state, if elected, and even take the industry to court in a class-action lawsuit.

Kucinich, a former mayor of Cleveland and former Ohio Congressman, is running in the primaries on May 8. In a poll from end-January, in the crowded Democratic Party field, Kucinich had 16 percent support, behind the leading candidate of the Democrats, Richard Cordray, with 23 percent support.

“Fresh water and clean water are not negotiable issues,” Kucinich told The Intercept, pointing to water contamination associated with oil and gas drilling. “They’re not negotiable.”

While Kucinich is campaigning to ban all oil and gas drilling in Ohio, the other Democratic candidates don’t support either idea for a ban or the class action lawsuit.

“Those who have poisoned Ohio’s people and their land will be made to pay,” Kucinich has recently said.

“No longer will the industry be able to hide behind the false label of ‘proprietary’ to experiment with toxic chemicals and biocides and use them without traceability and responsibility for the health and environmental impacts on the State of Ohio. No longer will we be lied to and used by these interests,” Kucinich says, and proposes to use the eminent domain to seize control of oil and gas wells in Ohio and shut them down. Kucinich also vows to block all drilling permits and totally ban injection wells.

Another proposal of Kucinich’s is to subsidize health screens for people living near fracking sites and use the data to file a class action lawsuit similar to the lawsuit against Big Tobacco in the 1990s.

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“For being the person who touts himself as the candidate for the average guy, he sure is anti-worker and anti-union,” Mike Chadsey, a spokesman for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said. “These bold and unrealistic statements show how desperate his hopeless campaign is,” Chadsey added.

According to the Global Energy Institute at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Ohio would lose 397,000 jobs, $33 billion in annual GDP, and households would lose $3,956 per household, if fracking is banned.

The Utica Shale has contributed to the rapid increase in natural gas production in Ohio, which was nearly 19 times higher in 2016 than in 2011, according to the EIA. The combined share of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia natural gas production of total U.S. natural gas production jumped to 27 percent last October, up from just 2 percent in 2008, the EIA says.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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