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Kucinich Would Move To End Drilling In Ohio If Elected Governor

Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich speaks during a news conference announcing his run for Ohio governor, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018.
Tony Dejak

Dennis Kucinich says if elected Ohio governor, he’d use the office's power to end the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Speaking to reporters in a downtown Columbus hotel on Thursday, the Democratic candidate called it the first major policy announcement of his campaign.

When asked how he would work on the issue with a legislature that’s largely seen as pro-drilling, Kucinich said the Ohio Constitution clearly gives the governor authority to direct the Department of Natural Resources to stop issuing drilling permits.

“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,” Kucinich said.

The majority of the Thursday press conference focused on fracking, but when talking with reporters afterward, Kucinich went a step further and said it’s his goal to end all kinds of oil and gas drilling in Ohio.

“Yes, that’s absolutely correct,” he said.

Appearing alongside Kucinich, was his running mate, Akron City Council member Tara Samples.

“This is about environmental justice and poor people being taken advantage of," Samples said.

Fracking has for years been a contentious issue in Ohio. The drilling technique that uses chemical-laden water to blast through underground shale rock and free up natural gas deposits has been linked to water and air pollution. 

Some fracking wastewater storage wells have also been considered to be a contributing factor in some earthquakes in Northeast Ohio.

Fracking has also created many good-paying jobs in economically-depressed regions of Appalachia, including eastern Ohio. Kucinich said clean energy jobs would take the place of fracking jobs, but didn’t provide much more detail.