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Ohio River Relay Focuses on Drinking Water
Following a speech by Robin Mahonen, Wheeling Water Warriors, and representatives of Huntington-based OVEC, participants will march with the baton carrier across the Robert C. Byrd (Fifth Street Bridge) into Chesapeake. The baton carrier will then pass the water, mountains and life symbol to a canoeist at the Symmes Creek boat launch who will row it to Greenup, Ky.
The Wheeling Water Warriors organized The Great Ohio River Relay to raise awareness about the environmental and human health impacts of deep shale gas fracking and, in particular, the proposed barging of toxic, radioactive fracking wastewater on the Ohio River. More than five million people rely on the Ohio River for their daily drinking water.
The relay began September 14 in Pittsburgh, PA, where the Allegheny River joins with the Monongahela River to form the Ohio River. A baton that symbolizes water, mountains and life itself, is being passed along the entire 981-mile length of the Ohio River. Participants are moving the baton along the river by canoe or kayak, or along the river’s banks by foot, bicycle, rollerblade or skateboard — by any human-powered means. The baton will be carried through six states to arrive in Cairo, IL, where the Ohio joins the Mississippi River, sometime in early October.
OVEC volunteers are passing the baton along the river from Pt. Pleasant, W.Va. and Greenup, Ky.
Organizations involved in the relay include the Wheeling Water Warriors, OVEC, WV Rivers Coalition, Earth Warriors of Butler County, FaCT-OV (Faith Communities Together for Fracking Awareness), Ohio Valley PEACE, SAFE (Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment), MOB (Marcellus Outreach Butler), Tour de Frack, Appalachia Resist, Freshwater Accountability Project Ohio, Southeast Ohio Alliance to Save Our Water, Stop the Frack Attack on Illinois, Marcellus Protest, Southwest Ohio No Frack Forum, Food and Water Watch, The Louisville 50, Ohio Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and Footprints for Peace