Athens Messenger news article on Hillary Clinton’s answer to fracking issues in Ohio at town hall meeting : 3/14/16

An Athens business owner opposed to fracking got the opportunity to ask former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about her views on hydro fracking at the Democratic Town Hall meeting in Columbus on Sunday. Christine Hughes, co-owner of Village Bakery, Della Zona, and Catalyst Cafe’ in Athens was selected to ask a question of Clinton during the nationally televised event. Hughes, who has been an outspoken opponent of fracking and injection wells asked the candidate, “As President, will you let farmers and communities say no to fracking and fully support a clean energy future?” Hughes also pointed out that Clinton wouldn’t allow fracking in communities that did not want it, but Hughes said that Ohio doesn’t allow local fracking bans.

“So much of what governs fracking right now is within State and local control.  Clinton goes on to say, “We need much more scientific research, but here’s what we know. We know that methane releases are bad, bad for the environment, they’re bad for greenhouse gas emissions. We know that if water is contaminated, that’s bad and we can’t allow that to go forward. We know that there is a loophole in the law, that I’ve disagreed with, that permits the fracking companies to not have to disclose what chemicals they’re using in fracking. We deserve to know. I think we have a right to know.” The article further states that Clinton said that she knows others have said they’re going to try to ban fracking altogether. “I just want to tell you that I’m going to do everything I can to regulate it and to try to limit it. No president can stand up before you and say I’m going to ban it. We’ve got too many layers of law we’ve got to work through and regulation we’ve got to deal withand that’s what I’m trying to say very clearly. I do not want to make a promise I can’t keep. I want to tell you what I think I can do as president to be your ally to try to stop that at the local level.”

Hughes told the Messenger that she was glad for the opportunity to ask Clinton about fracking, but admitted she wasn’t impressed with her answer. “I was encouraged that she brought up major problems with fracking, including major problems with fracking, including earthquakes and massive methane leaks, but then I got the feeling that she would try to tighten regulations and let the industry keep fracking. To me, that is a vastly insufficient response to the problem-especially given the climate crisis we’re faced with.”

The Messenger says, despite Clinton’s response, Hughes says she hopes her question helps more people understand the fracking industry. “If you live in a state like ours, which gives the fracking industry a free pass, I would say from what I heard last night that a President Clinton would not protect farmers and communities from fracking.” Hughes said. On Monday, Hughes was allegedly undecided in the primary race. Now she says she will be casting her ballor for Bernie Sanders.   – “Athens Messenger” article dated March 14, 2016 by Sara Brumfield sbrumfield@athensmessenger.com

Scott Bushbaum Sierra Club – Miami Group / Ohio Chapter – ExCom