Groups gather to protest fracking in Belmont County
Activists from all over Belmont County came to Martins Ferry holding signs targeted at fracking and energy industry laws in Ohio.
Scott Whitaker organized the group. He's a member of the groups Ohio Valley Peace and Concerned Barnesville Area Residents, two of the many being represented Tuesday.
They chose the location because of increased concern over places like the Austin Masters Services facility, just down the road.
"You don't have to imagine there's hazardous waste when you see uranium, radium, plutonium," Whitaker said.
Whitaker wasn't always an activist but that changed after his father got cancer in his early 50s, his mother shortly after.
"The cancer rate in the Ohio Valley is higher than average and with fracking it's probably going to get worse."
The protesters don't want fracking eliminated. They're calling for harsher regulation and honest transparency.
That means accurately testing waste before it gets to plant, putting signs on trucks transporting materials and label waste and radioactive material.
"We don't begrudge people for signing leases and working for a living but we just want it to be done as safe as possible. We want workers protected too."
They hope Ohio will look to other states in terms of EPA guidance and involvement.
Tuesday's protests were held in conjunction with an annual event by a group out of Youngstown called Frack Free Ohio.