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The Colorado Observer: Anti-Fracking Measure Moves Closer to Petition
by Valerie RichardsonThe Colorado Observer
April 7th, 2014
The Colorado Community Rights state constitutional amendment moves a step closer to the November 4th ballot as the state title board rejects attempts by the extractive industry to have it thrown out.
Grassroots Change: From Fracking to Factory Farms: Preserving Local Control to Protect Health
Grassroots Change
March 30th, 2014
Grassroots Change interviews CELDF's Director of National Organizing Ben Price on CELDF's work and why working locally, at the grassroots, is CELDF's focus to assist communities facing environmental and economic harms.
The Gazette: Powerful environmental group targets Broadview Hts. oil-gas well bill of rights
by John BensonThe Gazette
September 11th, 2013
Munroe Falls, OH, appeals their case to the Ohio Supreme Court for the power to regulate fracking under Home Rule. Broadview Heights - adopting a Community Bill of Rights banning fracking in 2012 - joins in an amicus brief in support of Munroe Falls.
The Courier Express: Residents want home rule charter
by Katie WeidenboernerThe Courier-Express
July 18th, 2013
Ridgway Township, PA, residents are collecting signatures to establish a Home Rule Charter, asserting Community Rights to local self-governance, including the right to ban fracking.
Centre Daily Times: Home rule vote divides community
by Cliff WhiteCentre Daily Times
April 9th, 2012
RUSH TOWNSHIP — Political yard signs dot the lawns of most of the houses along the twisting road between Black Moshannon State Park and Philipsburg. In some cases, neighbors have put up signs directly facing each other, revealing an issue that has touched a nerve among residents in this large and sparsely populated municipality. On April 24, the date of Pennsylvania’s primary, residents will decide which side of the fence they stand on when it comes to home rule, a form of governance that would give Rush Township additional powers to make local decisions. “Home rule is a concept based on giving the people more of a direct say in the decisions the township makes,” said Joe Matson, a candidate for the government study commission that will be formed if residents approve the home rule referendum. “Whatever issues Rush Township faces down the road, people will be empowered to have a direct chance to say yes or no.”
Centre Daily Times Opinion - Your Letters: Give the voters more control
by Peggy L. MillerCentre Daily Times
March 28th, 2012
In response to Tuesday’s letters to the editor about home rule charter in Rush Township, the taxpayers would be fools, according to Pat Couturiaux, if they did not vote to approve home rule. Kudos for Couturiaux; he has really shown his ignorance. People have died so we all can have a say in what happens in our lives, so get out and vote for home rule April 24 and control what happens in your front yard.
Centre Daily Times Opinion - Your Letters: Don’t fix it; it’s not broken
by Paul ShannonCentre Daily Times
March 28th, 2012
The April 24 primary election will have a question on the ballot for Rush Township residents: Should Rush Township change to a home rule type of government? The response must be, “Why?”
Bloomberg: New York Fracking Advocates Say Local Drill Bans Would Be ‘Kiss of Death’
by Freeman Klopott and Jim Efstathiou Jr.Bloomberg
January 17th, 2012
New York (STONY1) would lose any chance of reaping the economic benefits of the shale-gas boom if local governments are allowed to ban drilling through zoning laws, advocates say. The state sits on the northern edge of the Marcellus Shale, which may hold enough natural gas to supply the U.S. for two decades, according to Terry Engelder, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University. In 2010, New York placed a moratorium on the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing so state regulators can develop rules. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow municipalities to ban the practice, a right several say they already have.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Election showed fracking's key role in region
by Erich SchwartzelPIttsburgh Post-Gazette
November 13th, 2011
Right up to Election Day, Peters residents were receiving sleek fliers in the mail encouraging them to vote against a referendum to ban gas drilling in the Washington County community. The mailers weren't coming from local opposition, but from Houston-based industry group Consumer Energy Alliance.
Philly.com: Pittsburgh suburb: No to drill ban
by The Associated PressPhilly.com
November 10th, 2011
By a ratio of more than 4-1, voters in an affluent Pittsburgh suburb said natural-gas drilling could go on in their township. In Tuesday's general election, nearly 5,200 Peters Township voters rejected a referendum proposal that would have barred drilling, compared with a little more than 1,100 who voted for a ban.
The Spokesman-Review: Incumbents slide, try to explain shift
by Jonathan BruntThe Spokesman-Review
November 10th, 2011
Many of those elected Tuesday to serve in Spokane City Hall were the most outspoken ahead of the election that Proposition 1 would doom the economy. But the same electorate that chose those candidates also decided to give Proposition 1 – the Community Bill of Rights – a fighting chance. The ballot measure is still too close to call, although it lost ground in counting on Wednesday.
The Times-Tribune: Voters reject home rule referendum in Newton Twp.
by Erin NissleyThe Times-Tribune
November 9th, 2011
More than 61 percent of Newton Twp. voters who visited the polls Tuesday rejected a referendum that would have taken the first step toward a home rule charter. The referendum asked voters whether they wanted to set up a commission that would study the feasibility of adopting a home rule charter, which supporters believed would give residents more of a voice in the township's government. Tuesday's ballot also listed seven residents running for spots on that commission - many of whom said they wanted to explore the idea of home rule as a way of addressing concerns about gas drilling.
Real Clear Politics: Upscale Pittsburgh suburb rejects drilling ban
by The Associated PressReal Clear Politics
November 9th, 2011
By a margin of more than four-to-one, voters in an affluent Pittsburgh suburb say natural gas drilling can go on in their township. In Tuesday's general election, nearly 5,200 Peters Township voters rejected a referendum that would have barred drilling, compared with just over 1,100 who voted for a ban....Jules Lobel, a University of Pittsburgh law professor who represented the anti-drilling group in court, said the issue concerned the "whole question of local control over one's life, over things that matter."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Bid to ban drilling in Peters is defeated; voters in State College succeed
by Janice CromptonPittsburgh Post-Gazette
November 9th, 2011
Despite the work of a very determined group of citizens, a referendum banning Marcellus Shale gas drilling was overwhelmingly defeated Tuesday in Peters, Washington County....A similar measure in the city of Warren, Warren County, also was defeated, though one in the borough of State College, in Centre County, was approved by voters there.
The Daily Collegian: Amendment banning natural gas extraction passes
by Kristin StollerThe Daily Collegian
November 9th, 2011
The amendment that would add an environmental bill of rights to the Home Rule Charter to ban commercial natural gas extraction ... passed in Tuesday’s election. “It is a tremendous victory,” said Braden Crooks, who started the drive to get the amendment on the ballot. “It is an incredible statement by the people of State College.”
Times-Observer: Referendum Fails: Warren voters turn down change in city charter
by Eric TichyTimes-Observer
November 9th, 2011
Residents in the City of Warren voted soundly Tuesday against an amendment to the city's Home Rule Charter regarding the treatment of Marcellus Shale frackwater. The referendum vote 795 Yes and 1,316 No ends the West Side Alliance' bid to ban the treatment of frackwater and natural gas extraction within the city and prohibit the storage, deposit or transport of produced water, frackwater or brine within Warren, at least through an amendment to the city's charter.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Gas-drilling ban stalls in Peters
by Janice CromptonPittsburgh Post-Gazette
November 8th, 2011
Despite the work of a determined group of citizens, a referendum banning Marcellus Shale gas drilling was overwhelmingly defeated in the Washington County township of Peters tonight....The referendum was among one of the first in the nation in which voters had a direct voice in determining whether gas well drilling -- and hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" -- should be allowed in their neighborhoods.
TribLive: Peters' gas-ban referendum draws out voters
by David SingerTribLive
November 8th, 2011
While many voting precincts across Pennsylvania are reporting low turnout this general election day, poll workers in Peters said a referendum that would ban Marcellus shale drilling in the township is attracting a surge of voter interest. Residents are voting on a referendum that would essentially make all natural gas extraction activity illegal — and supersede all state and federal laws. A petition drive put the measure on the ballot in the Washington County community despite concerns of township officials that such a law would be illegal and result in expensive legal challenges.
CELDF Press Release: State College Voters Adopt Community Rights Charter Amendment That Bans Gas Drilling
by CELDF
November 8th, 2011
By a vote of 72% in favor, the people of the Borough of State College, home of Penn State University, adopted an amendment to their home rule charter that constitutionalizes a Local Bill of Rights, and protects those rights by prohibiting natural gas extraction and associated activities.
Observer-Reporter: PT drilling referendum may be a first in U.S.
by Terri T. Johnson Observer-Reporter
November 6th, 2011
Communities including the city of Pittsburgh have attempted to ban natural gas drilling by legislative action. But a referendum question on the ballot in Tuesday's election in Peters Township could mark the first time that a group of citizens has tried to force a ban by changing the community's home rule charter. The township council has opposed the effort.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Drilling war in Peters fought on the ballot
by Janice CromptonPIttsburgh Post-Gazette
November 6th, 2011
Amid the sea of colorful, plastic campaign signs scattered around Peters are angrier, bolder signs flapping in the wind, screaming "VOTE NO!! Protect Your Township," and "Vote Yes! Protect Our Property Values." They are part of the battle for the hearts and minds of voters in this affluent municipality of about 21,000 residents. The fight, which has already garnered attention from the national media, pits residents and energy companies who advocate drilling in the Marcellus Shale gas formation against a citizens group that is seeking to ban it in Washington County's most populous municipality through a voter referendum on Tuesday.
The Times-Tribune: Residents concerned about gas drilling propose home rule study
by Erin NissleyThe Times-Tribune
November 6th, 2011
A group in Newton Twp. concerned about the possible effects of natural gas drilling is asking residents to weigh in on whether to study ways to change their local government in the hopes of banning drilling altogether. Newton Twp. residents will vote Tuesday on a referendum that would allow the formation of a commission to study the existing form of government and consider the advisability of adopting a home rule charter.
The Spokesman-Review: Letter to the editor: Vote for your rights
by Rosie EnnisThe Spokesman-Review
November 5th, 2011
Since the Citizens United decision last year, in which the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for even more corporate money in our elections, I’ve been increasingly concerned about the ability of corporations to decide what happens in our country and our city.
Times-Observer: Ballot question, plain language description
Times-Observer
November 5th, 2011
The exact text of the ballot question: Shall Article II of the City of Warren's Home Rule Charter be amended to add a "Bill of Rights" enumerating rights to water, natural communities, sustainable energy future and local self government; banning natural gas extraction, except installed and operating wells; banning deposit, storage or transport of natural gas extraction by-products; and elevating the rights created under this amendment above those rights claimed by persons or corporations violating this amendment?
Times-Observer: Referendum in Warren would amend city charter
by Ben KleinTimes-Observer
November 5th, 2011
Residents of the City of Warren will vote Tuesday, Nov. 8 on a referendum that would amend the city's charter and ban the treatment of Marcellus Shale frackwater and natural gas extraction within the city, prohibit the storage, deposit or transport of "produced water" "frackwater," brine or other materials, chemicals or byproducts from unconventional development of natural gas from shale formation within Warren. What the referendum will allow and not allow within the city has been debated by the West Side Alliance, the group formed last year to oppose the proposed waste water treatment plant on the city's west end and petitioned the referendum for the ballot; the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which provides legal services for the West Side Alliance; city officials; some local businesses; and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association.
KXLY: Envision Spokane Supporters Surprised By Prop. 1 Returns
by Kylee CruzKXLY4
November 4th, 2011
One surprise on Election Night was Spokane's so-called Community Bill of Rights, with only 115 votes separating the Yes and No columns. On the ballot it's known as Spokane Proposition 1, and the early returns Tuesday night were a surprise for the president of the Envision Spokane Board, Brad Read, when he saw the results. Read was in a state of disbelief and said the outcome so far was nothing short of stunning.
Peters Patch: Letter to the Editor: A Resident's Reply
by Faith BjalobokPeters Patch
November 4th, 2011
Mr. Merrell recently posted an open letter to the people of Peters in which he made several assertions regarding the content of the ballot referendum. Based on the development of the western intellectual tradition in the last century in relation to environmental ethics, environmental law, and human rights, I respectfully disagree with several of his comments and conclusions. Further it is my contention that the referendum is not a meaningless document but the natural outgrowth of the western intellectual tradition that has its origin in the philosophies of the Enlightenment thinkers.
Centre Daily Times: Making history
by Gary ThornbloomCentre Daily Times
November 3rd, 2011
State College voters have an exciting opportunity on Tuesday. Together with two other communities, State College will have the first popular vote on a community bill of rights and natural gas drilling ban in the country.
Peters Patch: Peters Township Residents Host Meeting to Oppose Home Rule Charter Amendment
by Sara-Summer Oliphant Peters Patch
November 3rd, 2011
Those walking into Rolling Hills Country Club Wednesday night to listen to speakers regarding flaws surrounding the amendment to the home rule charter being voted on Tuesday in Peters Township were greeted by the opposition with a hand out of their own. Inside, more than 30 people—including supporters, opposition, commissioners and curious residents—attended the special informative meeting held by Peters Township resident Suzanne Kennedy and her husband Jimmy Moran.
Times-Observer: Referendum (Letter to the editor)
by Jim Decker, WCCBI President/CEOTimes-Observer
November 2nd, 2011
The Affirmation of the proposed referendum on November 8, which would direct the City of Warren to amend its Home Rule Charter to prohibit extraction of natural gas within the City as well as prohibit the storage, deposit or transfer of by-products of the extraction process "within, upon or through the land, air or waters of the City of Warren" is strongly opposed by the Warren County Chamber of Business & Industry (WCCBI).
Times-Observer: Referendum (Letter to the editor)
by Susan GeorgeTimes-Observer
November 2nd, 2011
Words of Wisdom: When the last tree is cut, When the last river is emptied, when the last fish is caught....
Times Observer: Referendum (Letter to the editor)
by Gregory and Jennifer MorellTimes-Observer
November 2nd, 2011
It is important that the citizens of the City of Warren have some form of input as to whether they would agree with allowing Marcellus Shale drilling within the City limits as well as processing of the waste water associated with Marcellus Shale.
Times-Observer: City Wells (letter to the editor)
by Dan LuciaTimes-Observer
November 2nd, 2011
Many thanks to the writer of the recent letter ("Do the Math" on 10/29/11) disclosing the city's plans for what he describes as "new horizontal wells". While I am always happy to get any information from the City, I wonder why he fears the Referendum will affect any of the City's activities?
StateCollege.com: State College Council Members Fight Environmental Proposal, Cite Procedural Concerns
by Adam SmeltzStateCollege.com
November 1st, 2011
With a week left before Election Day, a State College Borough Council majority has begun lobbying against a proposed borough-charter amendment. The amendment would add an environmental bill of rights and a ban on commercial natural-gas drilling to the borough charter, the municipality's governing document. Groundswell PA, a local environmental-advocacy group, has led the charge for the amendment.
Centre Daily Times: A yes vote for Home Rule
by Elizabeth GorehamCentre Daily Times
October 31st, 2011
I encourage all State College residents to vote yes Nov. 8 for the two-part Home Rule Charter amendments that would establish a Community Bill of Rights.... The first part reflects the deep connection all Pennsylvanians have with the commonwealth’s natural resources. The second part underscores another core value: the right of each municipality to decide local issues for itself.
Voices of Central Pennsylvania: Drilling ban to appear on Borough ballot
by By Lucy Bryan GreenVoices of Central Pennsylvania
October 31st, 2011
When residents of the State College Borough take to the polls on Nov. 8, they will join several other Pennsylvania communities, including Warren and Peters Township, in casting ballots that have the potential to make history and spark controversy. The citizens of these towns will, for the first time ever, issue popular votes on amendments to their town charters that include environmental bills of rights and bans on natural gas drilling. These referendums are the fruit of a growing grassroots movement in which communities are asserting their right to self-government, in particular, the right to protect their natural resources.
Centre Daily Times: Opinion - Leave regulations up to the council
by Ronald Filippelli, Thomas Daubert, Theresa Lafer, Silvi Lawrence and James RosenbergerCentre Daily Times
October 29th, 2011
On Election Day, the voters of State College Borough will be asked to consider a charter amendment to add a community bill of rights that, in part, would ban commercial natural gas extraction.
Times-Observer: Letter to the Editor - Do the math
by James A. Zavinski, Sr.,Times-Observer
October 28th, 2011
As a Warren city councilman, maintaining the financial health of our city is one of my highest priorities. Council works hard to get the most out of our tax dollars and provide the most efficient services to our community.
Centre Daily Times: We can be changemakers
by Braden CrooksCentre Daily Times
October 27th, 2011
Change seems to be in the air across America. Change for the better is certainly coming to Centre County, where community rights legislation to ban fracking is taking hold. On Oct. 13, Rush Township voted to advertise its ordinance, an important step toward making it law. In State College, a community bill of rights and natural gas drilling ban will be on the Nov. 8 ballot.... The people are saying yes to the idea that we should have the right to make decisions about what happens in the places we live.
Lebanon Daily News: Pa. twp. officials beg voters to oppose drill ban
by The Associated PressLebanon Daily News
October 24th, 2011
The council of an affluent Pittsburgh suburb wants voters to strike down an anti-drilling referendum that some citizens have put on the Nov. 8 ballot. A lawsuit by Peters Township officials failed to stop the referendum after the Peters Township Marcellus Shale Awareness group collected 2,500 signatures to let voters decide whether to amend the township's home rule charter to ban gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
Times-Observer: Local Ruling Upheld
by Ben KleinObserver-Reporter
October 21st, 2011
The referendum filed by the West Side Alliance will remain on the ballot for City of Warren voters for the Nov. 8 general election.... Thomas Linzey, attorney for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, and intervenor on behalf of the West Side Alliance, said the court's decision was the correct one....[T]his case was nothing less than the City suing its own residents to prevent them from exercising democratic authority to decide for themselves."
Times-Observer: Local court order upheld
Times-Observer
October 20th, 2011
The West Side Alliance petitioned charter amendment will appear on the ballot on November 8th, despite two attempts by the City Council to have an injunction imposed by the courts. The court rejected their attempt to block the voters from adopting a Community Bill of Rights, a ban on fracking, and a prohibition on the storage, transport or disposal of frackwater in the city.
Observer-Reporter: Letter to the Editor: Democracy has place in Peters Twp.
by Faith BjalobokObserver-Reporter
October 18th, 2011
The stone is cast and the amendment to ban drilling will appear on the Peters Township ballot. The stage is set and as maybe predicted based on past behavior, the informal fallacy argumentum ad baculum (appeal to the stick) will be launched by those opposed to the drilling ban.
The Times-Observer: Ruling expected this week on city referendum
by Ben KleinThe Times-Observer
October 18th, 2011
Legal briefs have been filed in Warren's appeal to Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania over the disputed referendum to amend the city's charter in the Nov. 8 general election. The city filed an appeal to Judge Maureen Skerda's Oct. 6 decision to deny the city's request that the county Board of Elections be stopped from placing the referendum on the ballot on Oct. 10.
The Times-Observer: City Council discusses referendum question
by Josh CottonThe Times-Observer
October 18th, 2011
The referendum question for city voters at next month's election was the hot topic at Monday evening's meeting of Warren City Council. Solicitor Andrea Stapleford updated council on the legal status of the case. She told council that Common Pleas Court Judge Maureen Skerda filed her brief Monday with Commonwealth Court and that all the city can do now is "wait for a decision."
The Times-Observer: City files appeal on ballot question
by Ben KleinThe Times-Observer
October 11th, 2011
The City of Warren filed an appeal with Commonwealth Court on Monday to stop a referendum placed on the ballot in November by the West Side Alliance...."It's our position that it's an illegal, non-binding advisory question, that should not be placed on the ballot," [City Solicitor Andrea Stapleford] said during a meeting Monday at the municipal building....
The Times-Observer: Court: Question On Ballot In City
by Ben KleinThe Times-Observer
October 7th, 2011
It's up to the voters now. A referendum to amend the city's charter that would ban the treatment of Marcellus Shale frackwater and natural gas extraction within the city, prohibit the storage, deposit or transport of "produced water" "frackwater," brine of other materials, chemicals or byproducts within Warren will be on the ballot in the Nov. 8 election.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Drilling ban could lead to lawsuits, Peters frets
by Matthew SantoniPittsburgh Tribune-Review
October 6th, 2011
Peters officials could find themselves spending money to campaign against a ballot question on whether to ban gas drilling because they fear its passage could result in drillers and property owners suing the township.... Jules Lobel, a University of Pittsburgh law professor who represented the group in court, said that although people should be free to campaign for or against the ban, it would be "unseemly" for the township to use taxpayer money to take a position.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Natural gas drilling ban remains on Peters ballot
by Jonathan D. SilverPittsburgh Post-Gazette
October 5th, 2011
Peters officials do not plan to challenge a judge's decision to allow a controversial referendum question on the ballot for the Nov. 8 general election that, if passed, would prohibit new natural gas extraction and likely spur lawsuits over access to Marcellus Shale deposits.... Washington County Common Pleas Judge Paul Pozonsky Monday dismissed an attempt by the township to block the referendum. In a brief order, the judge wrote that he could not act before the election because there was no "immediate harm caused by the presence of the measure on the ballot."
The Observer-Reporter: Judge allows addition to ballot
by Linda MetzThe Observer-Reporter
October 4th, 2011
Washington County Judge Paul Pozonsky Monday denied a request by Peters Township that a referendum on banning gas drilling in the township not appear on the ballot in the Nov. 8 election. In his ruling, Pozonsky found that the court, under current state Supreme Court precedent, lacks jurisdiction to rule on pre-election challenges to ballot measures without an immediate harm caused by the presence of the measure on the ballot.
CELDF Press Release: "Peters Township Citizens Prevail: Local Bill of Rights and Fracking Ban to Appear on Ballot"
by CELDF
October 4th, 2011
Washington County Judge Paul Pozonsky turned down a request by Peters Township Council to bar a referendum question from appearing on the ballot in November that, if approved by the voters, would create a local Bill of Rights and ban fracking. Judge Pozonsky ruled that the court lacks jurisdiction to impose an injunction against the proposed home rule charter amendment, and that allowing the voters to approve or deny the adoption of the amendment did not create an immediate harm to the township.
Canon-McMillan Patch: Judge Rules Marcellus Shale Question to Be Placed on Election Ballots
by Earl Bugaile Canon-McMillan Patch
October 3rd, 2011
Barring any appeals, it appears that the question to amend the Peters Township Home Rule Charter will appear on the ballots in the Nov. 8 general election. Members of the Peters Township Marcellus Shale Awareness and Action Group confirmed late Monday that Washington County Judge Paul Pozonsky ruled in their favor in a decision handed down earlier in the afternoon.
The Observer-Reporter: Referendum to appear on Peters Township ballot
The Observer-Reporter
October 3rd, 2011
Washington County Judge Paul Pozonsky today denied a request by Peters Township that a referendum on banning gas drilling in the township not appear on the ballot in the Nov. 8 election.
The Times-Observer: 3rd party joins lawsuit
by Ben KleinThe Times-Observer
September 29th, 2011
A third party has jumped into the lawsuit filed by the City of Warren against the Warren County Board of Elections. The West Side Alliance has filed an uncontested petition for intervention in the city's case against the Warren County Board of Elections on Wednesday at the Warren County Courthouse. Tom Linzey of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund said the petition will allow the West Side Alliance to be a formal party and make arguments at future proceedings.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Proposed drilling ban could cost Peters Township
by Timothy PukoPittsburgh Tribune-Review
September 29th, 2011
Judge Paul Pozonsky thinks Peters is going to face multiple lawsuits if its residents vote to ban oil and gas drilling, but he's not sure that should stop them from voting on the proposal. The Washington County Common Pleas judge yesterday told lawyers and a crowd of nearly 40 that he would try by the end of next week to decide whether the township can vote on a proposed ban of oil and gas operations. He thinks he may not be able to consider the consequences of a ban, only whether the referendum itself could harm the town, he said at a hearing.
The Observer-Reporter: PT referendum awaits ruling
by Linda MetzThe Observer-Reporter
September 29th, 2011
Washington County Judge Paul Pozonsky said he will decide by the end of next week if a referendum on banning gas drilling in Peters Township will appear on the ballot in the Nov. 8 election.... Nearly 40 people filled the courtroom for the hearing. Many of those were PTMSA members who collected 2,400 signatures to have the referendum placed on the ballot.
Centre Daily Times: Students "plank" to support environmental bill of rights
by Jessica VanderkolkCentre Daily Times
September 28th, 2011
By lying down on the brick walkway in front of the HUB-Robeson Center Wednesday, a group of students hoped to encourage others to "stand up and vote" on an environmental bill of rights that will be on the ballot in State College for the Nov. 8 election.... "You shouldn't lie down and just let things happen," was the message, said Eco-Action president Stefan Nagy, a Penn State senior. "I think everyone supports a stronger, local, self-government."
Envision Spokane: Community Rights, not Corporate Rights
September 28th, 2011
CELDF's local partner organization in Spokane, WA - Envision Spokane - is launching its ballot initiative campaign for a Community Bill of Rights with a series of videos. You can learn more about the campaign at www.envisionspokane.org.
Envision Spokane: Neighborhood Rights, Not Corporate Developer Rights
September 28th, 2011
CELDF's local partner organization in Spokane, WA - Envision Spokane - is launching its ballot initiative campaign for a Community Bill of Rights with a series of videos. You can learn more about the campaign at www.envisionspokane.org.
Envision Spokane: River Rights, Not Corporate Polluter Rights
September 28th, 2011
CELDF's local partner organization in Spokane, WA - Envision Spokane - is launching its ballot initiative campaign for a Community Bill of Rights with a series of videos. You can learn more about the campaign at www.envisionspokane.org.
Envision Spokane: Worker Rights, Not Corporate Employer Rights
September 28th, 2011
CELDF's local partner organization in Spokane, WA - Envision Spokane - is launching its ballot initiative campaign for a Community Bill of Rights with a series of videos. You can learn more about the campaign at www.envisionspokane.org.
The Times-Observer: City Sues County Over Ballot
by Bob KleinThe Times-Observer
September 28th, 2011
The City of Warren has filed a 20-page lawsuit seeking a petition for relief against the Warren County Board of Elections to stop the placement of a referendum on the November general election ballot...."It is very unusual for a municipality to challenge the exercise of the initiative process by their own residents," [Thomas] Linzey said of the lawsuit. "Basically, they are suing their own residents."
The Times Observer: County certifies ballot question in Warren
by Ben KleinThe Times Observer
September 21st, 2011
The Warren County Board of Elections certified a plain English summary and ballot question submitted by the West Side Alliance for placement on the City of Warren ballot in the November general election on Tuesday.
Times-Observer: City to oppose referendum
by Josh CottonTimes-Observer
September 20th, 2011
Warren City Council voted unanimously on Monday night to pursue legal action should the West Side Alliance succeed in having its referendum regarding the transportation, within city limits, of waste water from Marcellus Shale operations placed on the ballot this November.
Times-Observer: Ballot issue ready
by Ben Klein and Brian FerryTimes-Observer
September 19th, 2011
The Warren County Board of Elections has completed a ballot question and plain English statement that may appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.... The ballot question reads: "Shall article II of the City of Warren's Home Rule Charter be amended to add a "Bill of rights" enumerating rights to water, natural communities, sustainable energy future and local self government; banning natural gas extraction, except installed and operating wells; banning deposit, storage or transport of natural gas extraction by products; and elevating the rights created under this amendment above those rights claimed by persons or corporations violating this amendment?"
Beaver County Times: W. Pa. township suing to halt drilling referendum
by Associated PressBeaver County Times
September 15th, 2011
An affluent Pittsburgh suburb is suing to stop an anti-drilling referendum that a citizens group has gotten on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Observer-Reporter: Unclear if referendum will make PT ballot in election
by Linda MetzObserver-Reporter
September 14th, 2011
With less than two months to go before the Nov. 8 general election, it's still unclear whether a referendum on a home rule charter amendment will make its way onto the ballot in Peters Township.
The Times-Tribune: Group asking for Newton Twp. home rule study
by Erin L. NissleyThe Times-Tribune
September 14th, 2011
Residents may get to decide whether to gather more information on the benefits and drawbacks of changing their government after a petition was circulated to get a referendum on the November ballot. Newton Twp. supervisors said they received a letter in late July about the attempt to submit a petition to the Lackawanna County voter registration and elections office. The petition seeks to add a question on the November ballot so residents can decide whether a commission should be formed to see if a home rule charter should be adopted.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Suit pits Peters Township against taxpayers
by Jason CatoPittsburgh Tribune-Review
September 14th, 2011
An affluent Washington County township could test whether Pennsylvania residents have the legal right to enact referendums to ban drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus shale or elsewhere. An attorney for Peters Township on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the county board of elections, which approved including on the Nov. 8 ballot a referendum that could amend the township's Home Rule Charter to ban gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, among other measures. A group called Peters Township Marcellus Shale Awareness collected nearly 2,500 signatures calling for such a referendum.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Judge to rule on Peters drilling referendum
by Janice CromptonPittsburgh Post-Gazette
September 14th, 2011
A Washington County judge has set a Sept. 28 hearing for arguments over whether to block a voter referendum on natural gas drilling in Peters. At a brief hearing this morning, Judge Paul Pozonsky said he will try to make a decision about a petition from Peters Solicitor William Johnson before the first week in October, when absentee ballots for the general election are to be printed and mailed.
Peters Patch: Peters Council Asks Court to Rule on Legality of Shale Referendum
by Earl BugailePeters Patch
September 13th, 2011
Much to the chagrin of an assembled crowd of residents, Peters Township Council voted 7-0 Monday night to ask Washington County Court of Common Pleas to rule on the legality of a ballot question seeking a referendum to the township Home Rule Charter proposed by the Marcellus Shale Awareness & Action organization. The unanimous vote by council followed nearly an hour of impassioned comments from nearly two dozen citizens to allow voters to decide the issue.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Peters council heads to court to block shale referendum
by Janice CromptonPittsburgh Post-Gazette
September 13th, 2011
A lawyer representing Peters council is expected to be in Washington County court this morning in an attempt to block a voter referendum on whether to ban natural gas drilling. "In my opinion, it's patently illegal," said solicitor William Johnson. The referendum, which is slated to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, asks Peters voters whether to ban gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing -- or fracking -- of the Marcellus Shale, and other natural gas extraction activities.
Times Observer: Referendum Revived
by Ben KleinTimes Observer
September 13th, 2011
The referendum is back on the ballot for City of Warren voters. On Monday morning, the Warren County Board of Elections reversed its previous decision to deny the West Side Alliance's proposed referendum to amend the city's charter and ban the treatment of Marcellus Shale frackwater. It would also ban natural gas extraction within the city and prohibit the storage, deposit or transport of "produced water," "frackwater," brine of other materials, chemicals or byproducts within Warren.
The Almanac: PT advances gas referendum
by Karen MansfieldThe Almanac
September 13th, 2011
Peters Township Council voted unanimously Monday to let a Washington County Court judge determine whether a referendum on a home rule-charter amendment seeking to ban natural gas drilling in the municipality is legal and can appear on the ballot in November. About 2,400 registered township voters signed a petition presented Aug. 8 to Washington County Director of Elections Larry Spahr seeking the referendum on a home rule-charter amendment.
CELDF Press Release: “Legal Defense Fund Prevails Over Warren County Board of Elections”
by CELDF
September 13th, 2011
By a unanimous vote, the Warren County Board of Elections today reversed their decision to prevent a petitioned Home Rule Charter Amendment from appearing on the November ballot.
The Raw Story: Penn. township challenges fracking with ballot initiative
by Kase WickmanThe Raw Story
September 12th, 2011
A small township in western Pennsylvania is fighting back against fracking and attempting to write a ban on the practice into their local Bill of Rights, but they may be thwarted by their own town council. Peters Township in Washington County, population 21,213, is home to the Peters Township Marcellus Shale Awareness Group, an activism group formed after residents viewed Josh Fox's anti-fracking documentary "GasLand." PTMSA collected 2,422 signatures to place their Home Rule Charter amendment on the ballot on November 8 of this year, asking the question below.
Times Observer: Board to meet on referendum in Warren
by Colin KylerTimes Observer
September 2nd, 2011
City voters may be faced with an issue in November which could have far-reaching impact. Warren County Voter Registrar Lisa Zuck said the County Board of Elections will meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, in the commissioners' conference room of the Warren County Courthouse. They will review a ballot question to amend the city's charter and its plain English summary, she said, and it has not been officially accepted or certified until then. The proposed ballot question asks if the Warren City Home Rule Charter should be amended to add a bill of rights. The bill includes rights to water, natural communities, a sustainable energy future and self-government.
Times-Observer: Gas well prohibition will be on city ballot
by Colin KylerTimes Observer
August 31st, 2011
Officials have reviewed petitions to place a referendum on the November ballot to amend the the City of Warren's charter to prohibit drilling for natural gas within city limits. County Solicitor Barry Klenowski said the process to get the amendment on the ballot was proper. In the five years he has been solicitor, he said it was the first referendum he had seen at the county level. Barb Lucia of West Side Alliance said she was happy about the results of the review. Now, she said attention will focus on the general election.
StateCollege.com: Proposed Gas-Drilling Ban, Environmental-Rights Question Set for State College Ballot
by Adam Smeltzstatecollege.com
August 31st, 2011
State College voters will decide Nov. 8 on a proposed borough-charter amendment -- an amendment that would ban commercial gas drilling and establish environmental rights within borough limits. Elections-board members voted 3-0 Friday to include the referendum item as part of the borough's general-election ballot. Earlier this summer, just more than 1,000 borough residents signed a petition to qualify the proposal for placement as a referendum item.
Centre Daily Times: Referendum seeks borough drilling ban
by Mike DawsonCentre Daily News
August 29th, 2011
Voters in State College will be asked in November to ban the extraction of natural gas within borough limits. That question is part of an environmental bill of rights supported by the advocacy group Groundswell PA, which petitioned for a referendum on the issue on the general election ballot Nov. 8. The county’s Board of Elections approved Friday putting the referendum question on borough ballots. Among its provisions, the bill states that people are entitled to clean air, water and ecosystems and that the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process for natural gas extraction violates that.
Groundswell - Making History
by Braden CrooksGroundswell
August 26th, 2011
Congratulation, Folks! After a meeting of the Centre County Elections Board this morning, the State College Community Environmental Bill of Rights and Natural Gas Drilling Ban is now officially on the ballot for this November 8th. We are the first people to successfully put a charter amendment on the ballot in State College since it became a Home-Rule community forty years ago. And our borough, along with two other communities in Pennsylvania, will now host the first popular vote on Environmental Rights in the world. There is no doubt: history is being made in State College.
State College: Environmental-Rights Referendum Appears Likely for State College Ballot
by Adam SmeltzState College
August 18th, 2011
A referendum focused on local environmental concerns appears likely to be included on the general-election ballot in State College. The Groundwell [sic] PA advocacy group has collected more than enough borough-resident signatures to qualify the referendum for inclusion on the Nov. 8 ballot, Groundswell founder Braden Crooks said this week. He said the referendum -- if approved by the county elections board -- will ask borough voters to decide whether an environmental bill of rights and a local gas-drilling ban will be incorporated into State College borough's governing charter.
The Spokesman-Review: Editorial: Council fair in deciding not to add ballot items
by EditorialThe Spokesman-Review
August 17th, 2011
The Spokane City Council made an equitable decision in deciding Monday night to forgo adding two ballot questions that relate to Envision Spokane’s proposal to enshrine a Community Bill of Rights in the charter. This is Envision Spokane’s second attempt, though it is scaled back from the 2009 ballot measure. This version would grant individuals rights to neighborhood protections against development, collective bargaining for laborers and a clean river and aquifer. It also precludes corporations from infringing on these rights.
The Spokesman-Review: Shawn Vestal: Voters capable of weighing merits of pesky bill of rights
by Shawn VestalThe Spokesman-Review
August 17th, 2011
If I suggested that no one could succeed in business in Spokane without polluting the river and trampling on workers’ rights, I’d be called an ignorant Bolshevik. So, of course, I’d never do such a thing. But that’s sort of what the business “community” did Monday night, as one organization after another lined up to tell the City Council that they were very concerned that the Community Bill of Rights would drive away business and cost Spokane dearly. One of their main concerns is the mountainous legal costs the city would entail defending it if it passes. Defending it from the very concerned business community, that is.
Spokesman-Review: City won’t add two ballot questions - They aim to taint voting, Envision argues
by Jonathan BruntSpokesman-Review
August 16th, 2011
The Community Bill of Rights would add extra requirements for the approval of certain kinds of development and create “the right to a healthy Spokane River and aquifer.” One portion declares that corporations would “not be deemed as ‘persons’ ” and could not interfere with the enforcement of the Community Bill of Rights.
Pittsburgh City Paper: Op-ed: Ravenstahl rebuke may clear the air on gas bill
by Chris PotterPittsburgh City Paper
August 12th, 2011
So today comes some fairly unsurprising news: Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has informed council that he will not approve a measure to put a ban on natural-gas drilling before voters this November. And he has timed his move in such a way as to make it impossible for council to reverse the action. Had it passed, the referendum would have amended the city's home-rule charter to bar the drilling of natural gas within city limits; it also would have stripped certain legal rights from companies seeking to engage in it.
Peters Patch: Peters Home Rule Amendment Question Reaches Washington County Elections Office
by Earl BugailePeters Patch
August 11th, 2011
With the filing of a petition to add an amendment to the Peters Township Home Rule Charter on the general election ballots Nov. 8, the Washington County Elections Office said a number of processes will take place to prepare the question that will go before the electorate. Peters Township Marcellus Shale Awareness & Action filed the petitions bearing 2,422 signatures on Monday, one day before the filing deadline of Aug. 9.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh City Council loses bid for drilling referendum
by Timothy McNultyPittsburgh Post-Gazette
August 11th, 2011
Council faced a deadline Tuesday night to send its ballot question to the county. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who has clashed with council on drilling, had not yet moved on the referendum measure council approved Aug. 2 so members asked the county Tuesday afternoon to accept the measure anyway. In a unique move, six council members signed "interim approval" documents promising to override the mayor should he veto it.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Mayor to let drilling referendum die
by Timothy McNultyPittsburgh Post-Gazette
August 10th, 2011
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will not sign a Pittsburgh City Council measure seeking a referendum banning natural gas drilling, citing business and legal concerns. The mayor issued a letter to council Monday night saying his move has "effectively eliminated" the possibility the city charter referendum can appear on November ballots, but council may attempt an end-run to get it on the ballot anyway. A group of council members is considering sending the county elections division an "interim letter" urging elections officials to proceed with the referendum, and promising to override a presumed veto when they return from recess in late August.
The Republic: Pittsburgh mayor to leave drilling ban referendum in limbo, council explores legal maneuver
by The Associated PressThe Republic
August 9th, 2011
The mayor of Pittsburgh says he will delay action on a proposed ban on natural gas drilling, which will keep it off the November ballot, but council members say they will look into a legal maneuver to get around the mayor.
The Spokesman-Review: Sunday Spin: Get ready for Round 2 on Bill of Rights
by Jim CamdenThe Spokesman-Review
August 8th, 2011
Conspicuous by their absence last Monday were leaders of Greater Spokane Inc., when the City Council voted to place the latest version of a Community Bill of Rights before voters. That shouldn’t be taken as a sign the business community is okey-dokey with the ballot measure. The council had no choice in the matter, as some members made clear. Envision Spokane gathered the necessary signatures to put a charter change on the ballot, and that, pretty much, was that.
Lebanon Daily News: Pittsburgh council OKs drilling ban referendum
by The Associated PressLebanon Daily News
August 3rd, 2011
The Pittsburgh City Council has approved legislation to let voters in November consider making a ban on natural gas drilling part of the western Pennsylvania city's home-rule charter. But Mayor Luke Ravenstahl could block that plan by sitting on the measure for the next 10 days.
The Spokesman-Review: ‘Bill of Rights’ to be on ballot
by Jim CamdenThe Spokesman-Review
August 2nd, 2011
Spokane voters will be asked again this fall whether they want to add a “Community Bill of Rights” to the City Charter. The Spokane City Council voted unanimously to place the initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot, although not before some council members said they disagree with its content. This initiative, sponsored by the community organization Envision Spokane, is a pared-down version of the previous Community Bill of Rights that voters handily rejected in 2009. It calls for neighborhood residents to have the right to approve rezoning requests for significant new developments, would expand protections for the Spokane River and the region’s aquifer, guarantee collective bargaining rights for workers and say corporate rights can’t interfere with citizens’ rights in the charter.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Council OKs putting drilling ban on ballot
by Joe SmydoPittsburgh Post-Gazette
August 1st, 2011
With what could be a veto-proof majority, Pittsburgh City Council today cleared the way for a referendum on natural gas production. Councilman Doug Shields proposed giving voters the opportunity to incorporate council's eight-month-old ban on gas production into the city's home-rule charter. Incorporating the ban into the charter would make it more difficult for future councils to rescind the prohibition.
DC Bureau: New York: Home Rule vs. Marcellus Gas
by Peter MantiusDC Bureau
July 28th, 2011
In New York State, the tension between the state’s authority to grant drilling permits for high-volume hydrofracking without notifying affected communities and the communities’ right to ban unwanted industrial activity is shaping up as the key legal battle over the gas-rich Marcellus Shale. At stake is whether the gas industry will get relatively free reign to drill statewide or be hemmed in by a patchwork of local ordinances that confine new gas wells to industrial zones.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: After debate, council leaning toward shale referendum
by Joe SmydoPittsburgh Post-Gazette
July 27th, 2011
After sharp debate, Pittsburgh City Council today gave preliminary approval to a bill that would force a fall referendum on Marcellus Shale production. Council will take a final vote on the bill next week. The referendum would ask city voters whether they want to amend the city's home-rule charter to include a "community bill of rights" that bans natural gas production.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: 4 accused of lobbying city council on gas drilling ban
by Joe SmydoPittsburgh Post-Gazette
July 27th, 2011
Despite what he called behind-the-scenes opposition from Allegheny County executive candidate Rich Fitzgerald, two civic leaders and a union official, Pittsburgh city Councilman Doug Shields predicted that he will have the votes today to advance legislation that would let voters decide whether to include a natural gas drilling ban in the city's home-rule charter.... "None of them, seemingly, have the gumption to go public with their opposition," Mr. Shields' email said. "I would be happy to debate them ... They also can come to city council to offer their perspectives during our public comment period as to why they think it's a bad idea to allow the public to express themselves on this most significant issue."
Pittsburgh City Paper: Shields alleges "significant political pressure" to kill drilling-ban referendum
by Chris PotterPittsburgh City Paper
July 25th, 2011
City councilor Doug Shields, who is seeking a public referendum on banning natural-gas drilling in city limits, is alleging that civic leaders are pressuring council to kill the measure. Among those leaders: Democratic county executive candidate Rich Fitzgerald, and two members of the city's financial oversight board. Council is set to debate the referendum measure this Wednesday. Voting in favor of the bill would give city voters a chance to amend the Home Rule Charter this November, outlawing natural-gas drilling in Pittsburgh. If passed, the referendum would reinforce a drilling ban already passed by council last year.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Fitzgerald lobbies council against drilling ban
by Tim McNultyPittsburgh Post Gazette
July 25th, 2011
Democratic county executive candidate Rich Fitzgerald has been lobbying against a city home rule charter amendment banning drilling, according to the ban's lead legislator (and fellow Squirrel Hill Democrat) Doug Shields. Writes the lame-duck city councilman: Mr. Fitzgerald and his Shale Gas industry backroom friends want us to vote for him yet he doesn't want the public to be allowed vote for themselves, for their health, for their safety and welfare. I put this question to Mr. Fitzgerald: What city neighborhood would you like to begin drilling operations in?
Sierra Club Allegheny Group: Pittsburgh Councilman Proposes Drilling Referendum on November Ballot
Sierra Club Allegheny Group
July 25th, 2011
Pittsburgh City Councilman Doug Shields has proposed that a shale gas drilling referendum be included on the November 8 general election ballot The proposal must be approved by Council, and to that end there will be an opportunity for public comment.... According to Councilman Shields: “By adding this referendum to the ballot, Council is putting the question squarely to the voter to affirm Council’s passage of a Marcellus Shale drilling ban. By incorporation of the Ordinance into the Charter it makes it much more difficult for non-residents to claim dominion over the governed in Pittsburgh. It also places any repeal in the hands of the electors.”

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