Senate Bill 250 - Testimony
Testimony of Nick Teti before The Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee
Nov. 28, 2018

My name is Nick Teti from Warsaw, Ohio. I am a board member of Coshocton Environmental and Community Awareness. I was born right after WW II. I grew up in a working class neighborhood in Akron.  All of our fathers were veterans and war heroes. When they returned from the war they did not form private armies to oppress their fellow citizens and undercut the rights and values they had just defended at the risk of their own lives and the sacrifice of so many others. Those who found opportunity in being warriors remained in the military and had honorable careers serving our nation in that capacity. Most put the war behind them. They did not make war on school teachers, farmers, doctors, the clergy, factory workers and other citizens who used their Constitutional Right to dissent. Many of them joined unions and used their freedom of assembly to improve their wages, their hours, their working conditions, and their terms of employment. They did this by disrupting the day to day operations of industry with strikes to achieve economic justice and build a strong, prosperous, and secure middle class. The nation not only survived; it thrived.

My Dad was one of these workers. He was an assembler who worked alongside engineers building nuclear reactors for our atomic submarines that deterred any first-strike nuclear aggression during the cold war. He was also a union steward. He was on the front lines of the job actions that his union undertook against the Babcock and Wilcox Company in Barberton, Ohio; just as he was always on the front lines during his military service.

He first served as a nose gunner in a B-17 bomber where he was wounded in the leg. He recovered in time for D-Day and landed on Omaha Beach. There he was assigned the dangerous duty of leading truck convoys of gasoline and ammunition through contested territory to supply General Patton’s Tanks who were the tip of the spear into Nazi Germany.

I wonder how Ohio would respond if this Italian immigrant, who gave so much to his state and nation, led a strike action at a fracking complex or a cracker plant. Would he become a felon for stopping production at these facilities and supporting the interests of working class Americans?

The last time Ohio Politicians conflated legitimate dissent with criminal behavior it resulted in one of the greatest tragedies I witnessed in my lifetime. I saw young nineteen year old troops, who had joined the Ohio National Guard Reserve to avoid having to burn Vietnamese villages, march across the Kent State Campus with bayonets and fire into a crowd of 19 year old college students who were in the area of a rally protesting the burning of Vietnamese villages; "Four dead in O-hi-o."

It is easy to start a war. It is easy to create an enemy. Be careful who you define as your enemy. The people of Ohio are not insurgents. This is a war that will be fought with private mercenary armies. How will you control these corporate guns for hire? How will you make sure they are not conscripting gun nuts or racists? I urge you to kill this bill before you start killing Ohioans.

Testimony of Nick Teti
SB 250 - Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee
November 14, 2018

Dr. Terry Engelder, a developer and proponent of modern oil and gas development, used the term “sacrifice zones” to describe the people and communities devastated by constructing toxic heavy industrial infrastructures in their local residential environments. This infrastructure is metastasizing across our state; fracking operations, multi-billion dollar cracker plant processing centers, pipelines, and waste disposal operators injecting billions of gallons of toxic liquids beneath our aquifers.

The working people of Ohio must risk the lifetime investment they have made in their homes. They must allow serious hazards to the health and safety of their families and all those they cherish. They must reconcile themselves to being an expendable population whose rights, independence, and security can be disregarded. Everything that gives their lives quality and meaning must be subordinate to business interests from other states and countries.

This is what current Ohio legislators are trying to enforce with Senate Bill 250. Honest working class people and their families who were meant to be shielded and protected by Ohio law will now see the law used as a weapon against them. We already have laws protecting private property. But the oil and gas industry will brook no popular opposition to their economic and political agenda.

In Ohio, if someone with lots of money and power needs what you have in order to get more money and power, they will be allowed to take it.  And, if Ohioans organize to oppose that policy, our legislators will pass special laws threatening them with felonies and financial ruin. And if you oppose those legislators they will say, to quote Senator Hoagland, that they are passing these laws to “protect my mother.”

Senators, unless your mother is living next to a fracking well that she didn’t want or watching a giant pipebomb full of volatile hazardous compounds being built across her land or watching a cracker plant under construction near her neighborhood or waiting for a line of waste tankers backed up on her highway , then she is not the victim here.

We have just celebrated Veteran’s Day in remembrance of all the blood that has been spilled in the name of democracy. If you truly honor the sacrifices that were made do not impede the rights of people to assemble and redress their grievances. The laws as they exist are more than adequate to deter any malicious intent by misguided individuals.

Nick Teti, Coshocton Environmental and Community Awareness Inc.

I am including a copy of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Summary for Policymakers with my testimony. This recently released report by the world’s climate scientists concludes that we are out of time. We are going to experience escalating rates and intensity of extreme weather. We can mitigate some of the most serious damage to our children’s future only if we act decisively within the next 12 years to reduce the amount of carbon we are releasing into the air by 45%. This is a fact based on laws that that go beyond the scope of the ones you play with in these chambers. I’m talking about the laws of physics. We are approaching a point at which we are going to lose the ability to effect change to the processes we have unleashed. Due to our short –sighted indifference our Earth is beginning to transform into a different kind of planet where the predictable nurturing cycles that have allowed life to evolve, adapt, and flourish over the millennia are becoming ever more erratic. I challenge you to go on youtube and search for “arctic methane”. You will see that the planet is beginning to produce this greenhouse gas as a consequence of the warming we have fostered in the polar regions. The business plan of the oil and gas industry is to take all the carbon on the planet and put it into the atmosphere. If you allow them to continue you will turn this planet into Venus. Every time you impede the use of renewable energy to favor the burning of carbon you are facilitating the industry that is killing us.