An Ohio man who put up billboards with biblical annotations indirectly opposing fracking wastewater disposal has said the messages will be removed on Tuesday.
Michael Boals, a resident of Coshocton, said the owners of the billboards had decided to terminate the three-month verbal agreement one month before it expires unless he rewords the offending statements, reported the Associated Press.
Austin, Texas-based well-owner Buckeye Brine had sued Mr. Boals in July over the ads, which it termed as containing false and defamatory messages. The firm and its local well-operator, Rodney Adams, filed a lawsuit against two billboards located on U.S. Route 36. One sign states “Death may come”.
The plaintiffs say the wells comply with all state rules, are legal and safe. It requested both Boals and the billboards’ owner Robert Schlabach.
Mr. Boals, 55, is a timber harvester. He declined to remove the offending message, citing free speech rights and the fact that they cost him at least $1,000 and had no misleading information. One billboard read that “injected wells pump poisoned waters under the feet of America’s Citizens.” The other one draws the prophecy sourced from the book of Revelation of men “dying from waters made bitter”.
Pittsburg-based group, Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, is representing Mr. Boals and is readying itself to defend the signboards, which are one of the few ways to reach target audience in the rural area that has limited media and cellphone coverage. The non-profit wants Buckeye Brine’s lawsuit dismissed since the complaint is “fatally defective”.
“In sum, the complaint demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of First Amendment law, as well as the more protective speech law under the Ohio State Constitution,” the group’s motion reads.To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at firstname.lastname@example.org