First-ever 'Ohio Human Rights Tribunal' held in Athens
The first human-rights and environmental-justice hearing ever held in Ohio took place in Athens Saturday. The hearing was part of a tribunal process on impacts of fracking as a human-rights issue. Sixteen presenters from around Ohio testified to a panel of four citizen judges at the First United Methodist Church in Athens, providing more than six hours of testimony.
The event is part of the Permanent People’s Tribunal on Fracking (tribunalonfracking.org), which is gathering testimony from around the world to deliver to the Permanent People’s Tribunal and the United Nations.
The Athens hearing, one of two planned for Ohio, was initiated by Teresa Mills, director of Buckeye Environmental Network (the former Buckeye Forest Council), and organized with support from Torch Can Do!, the grassroots group founded by residents living in and near Torch in eastern Athens County, and a grant from the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice (CHEJ). Torch is the site of one of the largest fracking-waste injection facilities in Ohio.
A second hearing will be held in northeast Ohio in July, according to a news release from organizers of Saturday’s event.