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Allegheny Defense Project: Rural PA Township in the Allegheny National Forest refuses to be bullied by Houston, Texas based oil and gas company Seneca Resources Corporation.
Allegheny Defense Project
March 2nd, 2015
Highland Township, PA, supervisors voted last night to defend the people's Community Bill of Rights banning frack wastewater injection wells. Seneca Resources Corporation claims it has a corporate "right" to inject wastewater in the township, and does not recognize the community's right to protect their clean water.
LancasterOnline: Gas pipelines make bad neighbors
by Mark ClatterbuckLancasterOnline
February 11th, 2015
Lancaster County, PA, resident debunks industry claims about the Atlantic Sunrise pipleline project, which threatens communities and local ecosystems for foreign exports and profits.
LancasterOnline: 8 pipeline protesters plead guilty to trespassing, are fined $100 each
by Ad CrableLancasterOnline
February 5th, 2015
Lancaster County, PA, residents make clear their stand to protect their communities from a pipeline project, refusing to be intimidated by criminal charges and vowing to continue thwarting the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline.
E&E Publishing: Speaking for the trees, lawyer pushes unconventional doctrine
by Ellen M. GilmerE&E Publishing
January 7th, 2015
While the oil & gas industry protests, CELDF & allies bring forward the Rights of Nature as the basis to give ecosystems legal standing to protect itself. The Little Mahoning Watershed in Grant Township, PA, filed to intervene in a case against Grant's Community Bill of Rights banning frack wastewater injection wells.
CELDF Statement: Lancaster County, PA, Community Members Halt Pipeline Drilling Activity
January 6th, 2015
While Conestoga & Martic Township residents urge their local electeds to adopt Community Bills of Rights banning pipelines, they take action through peaceful civil disobedience to stop pipeline test drilling taking place in their community.
Fox 43: Pipeline protest holds up natural gas drilling project in Conestoga Township
by Rebecca SolomonFox 43
January 5th, 2015
CELDF partner communities in Lancaster County, PA, declare a complete rejection of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project, and site protecting the land and rural culture as reasons behind their direct action to stop the project from cutting through their Townships.
StateImpact: 8 protestors arrested at pipeline testing site in Lancaster County
by Katie ColaneriStateImpact
January 5th, 2015
Lancaster County, PA, residents use peaceful civil disobedience to stop drilling at a proposed pipeline site. Residents are acting to protect their community and local ecosystem's rights to clean air, water, and soil.
The Bradford Era: Disputed injection well moving forward in Highland Township
by Chuck AbrahamThe Bradford Era
December 25th, 2014
Seneca Resources attempts to move forward with siting a fracking wasterwater injection well in Highland Township, PA. To do so would violate the Township's Community Bill of Rights banning injection wells, and residents insist on their right to make governing decisions within their community.
WTAE Pittsburgh: Chronicle: Drilling Down (Part 6: "Whose Land is It?")
by Paul Van OsdolWTAE Pittsburgh
December 19th, 2014
Residents of western Pennsylvania determine to protect their community, families, and the land by banning fracking through Community Bills of Rights, and Rights of Nature conservation easement.
Eaglefordtexas.com: Dispute pits small community against large gas driller
by Justin DennisEagleFordTexas.com
December 16th, 2014
Grant Township, PA, Supervisors, residents, and the Little Mahoning Watershed stand behind their Community Bill of Rights banning fracking injection wells and protecting local ecosystems, determined that unjust laws must be challenged and changed.
Watchdog.org: One PA ecosystem enters the court fray over fracking waste
by Rachel MartinWatchdog.org
December 15th, 2014
As fracking, its wastewater, and fracking infrastructure grow, communities are adopting Community Bills of Rights to protect themselves - and now local ecosystems are using this rights-based structure to protect themselves as well.
The Morning Call: Township takes novel approach to ban fracking
by Justin DennisThe Morning Call
December 13th, 2014
Should corporate claimed "rights" to inject frack wastewater supersede the rights of a community to clean water? Residents of Grant Township, PA, insist community rights to clean water, and the right of the Little Mahoning Watershed to flourish, are elevated over any corporate privileges to cause harm.
Lancaster Online: At little risk, supervisors could stand up for residents
by Luke BuntingLancaster Online
December 11th, 2014
Conestoga Township, PA, resident urges the use of their proposed Community Bill of Rights banning pipelines to change our structure of law, such that community rights to local self-governance and to protect themselves are elevated above corporate claimed "rights."
Public Herald: Pennsylvania Ecosystem Fights Corporation For Rights In Landmark Fracking Lawsuit
by Melissa TroutmanPublic Herald
December 10th, 2014
Grant Township residents ally with the Pennsylvania Community Rights Network, CELDF, and 100 other Pennsylvania communities to protect residents and ecosystems from corporate harms. Today, the Little Mahoning Watershed in Grant Township joins them, defending itself in a lawsuit against fracking wastewater.
Lancaster Online: Conestoga Township rejects anti-pipeline ordinance
by Ad CrableLancaster Online
December 3rd, 2014
Despite 200 Conestoga Township, PA, residents passionately urging their Supervisors to adopt their Community Bill of Rights banning an LNG pipeline as a violation of community rights, Supervisors folded, representing corporate interests over the health, safety, and welfare of their constituents.
State Impact: Indiana County township claims ecosystem has legal rights
by Susan PhillipsState Impact
December 1st, 2014
Grant Township, PA, residents see their community rights to protect their health and safety, and the rights of the Little Mahoning Watershed to exist and flourish, as inseparable - and as superseding corporate claimed "rights."
Lancaster Online: Conestoga Township supervisors would make history Tuesday if they pass anti-pipeline ordinance
by Ad CrableLancaster Online
December 1st, 2014
Conestoga Township, PA, residents urge their Board of Supervisors to adopt their Community Bill of Rights Ordinance banning pipelines as a violation of their rights to clean air, water, and local self-governance.
Lancaster Online: Supervisors should stand up to Williams
by Mark ClatterbuckLancaster Online
November 26th, 2014
In a letter-to-the-editor, a Lancaster County, PA, resident calls out the structure of law and governance we live under that forces unsustainable and harmful LNG pipelines into communities, calling for Township Supervisors within the County to adopt Community Bills of Rights to protect residents and local ecosystems.
Press Release: First-in-Nation: Ecosystem Files to Defend Legal Rights to Exist & Flourish
November 18th, 2014
Today, for the first time, an ecosystem in the United States filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to defend its own right to exist and flourish. The Little Mahoning Watershed and Grant Township, PA, residents come up against the Pennsylvania General Energy Corporation.
Lancaster Online: 2 townships considering anti-pipeline ordinances
by Dan NephinLancaster Online
November 6th, 2014
Conestoga and Martic Township residents in Lancaster County, PA, urge their Township Supervisors to move forward Community Bills of Rights banning natural gas pipelines from their communities.
EagleFordTexas.com: Local bans on fracking up for vote in Utica Shale
by Daniel MooreEagleFordTexas.com
October 29th, 2014
As resistance grows to fracking and related activities, more and more communities are using Community Bills of Rights to assert their right to local self-governance, and to make the decisions about those things directly impacting them--such as fracking.
Lancaster Online: Pipeline company does not have my best interests in mind
by Malinda Harnish ClatterbuckLancaster Online
September 21st, 2014
Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck of Lancaster County, PA, calls on residents to protect their local, rural communities as they are threatened by miles of a high-pressure transmission pipeline in the interests of energy profits.
The Indiana Gazette: Grant Township unbowed by PGE lawsuit
by Chauncey RossThe Indiana Gazette
August 29th, 2014
Grant Township, PA, Supervisors determine to protect residents' safety and welfare by defending their Community Bill of Rights banning fracking injection wells against a corporate lawsuit attempting to overturn the ordinance.
TribLive: Indiana County's Grant Township will fight wastewater disposal well
by Kari AndrenTribLive
August 28th, 2014
Grant Township Supervisors vote unanimously to defend the Township's Community Bill of Rights, which bans fracking wastewater injection wells as a violation of those rights. PGE Company is suing the Township, claiming it violates PGE's corporate "rights."
TribLive: Indiana County township 'afraid for the water' fights waste well
by David ContiTribLive
August 26th, 2014
Grant Township, PA, faces a lawsuit filed by PGE Corporation claiming a corporate "right" to dispose of fracking wastewater in their community. The Township adopted a Community Bill of Rights banning fracking injection wells in June.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Gas well company sues over Grant Township's banning of oil, gas waste
by Rich LordPittsburgh Post-Gazette
August 12th, 2014
Pennsylvania General Energy Corporation files a federal lawsuit against Grant Township, PA's, Community Bill of Rights banning fracking wastewater injection wells. Corporate attorneys argue Grant Township residents have no right to protect their clean water because it violates corporate claimed "rights."
Lebanon Daily News: South Londonderry residents seek 'Community Bill of Rights'
by Marylouise ShollyLebanon Daily News
July 9th, 2014
South Londonderry, PA, residents urge Township Supervisors to adopt a Community Bill of Rights asserting their authority to protect clean air and water as they confront a shale gas pipeline
Lancaster Online: A gas pipeline through the county can be fought, crowd is told
by Larry AlexanderLancaster Online
July 9th, 2014
Communities in Lancaster County, PA, concerned about a proposed gas pipeline, learn about Community Bills of Rights that can be used to protect themselves.
Sane Energy Project: FERC and the Regulatory Trap
by John TralloSane Energy Project
July 7th, 2014
Growing numbers of communities face unwanted shale gas infrastructure projects, such as pipelines. This author has first hand experience in trying to stop them, and concludes Community Bills of Rights are a means to do so.
The Patriot-News: Pipeline opponents hope to challenge Atlantic Sunrise Project with new type of law
by Monica Von DobeneckThe Patriot-News
June 26th, 2014
Lebanon Co, PA, residents facing a shale gas pipeline explore CELDF-drafted Community Bills of Rights Ordinances to stop the pipeline and protect their communities.
The Kane Republican: Highland Twp. picnic for clean water held Saturday
by Amy GreerThe Kane Republican
June 23rd, 2014
Highland Township, PA, residents, adopting a Community Rights Ordinance banning fracking injection wells in 2013, receive broad community support on Saturday at an event attended by Pennsylvania and Ohio communities.
The Bradford Era: Picnic held in Highland Township to discuss injection well
by Chuck AbrahamThe Bradford Era
June 22nd, 2014
Highland Township, PA, receives support from surrounding communities at the Residents Fight for Clean Water Picnic held Saturday. Highland residents face a fracking wastewater injection well, and are preparing to enforce their Community Bill of Rights banning the wells.
The Bradford Era: Community rights gathering slated in Highland Township
by Amanda NicholsThe Bradford Era
June 15th, 2014
Communities and government representatives from across Elk County, PA, are invited to Highland Township's community rights picnic gathering on Saturday, 6/21. The gathering will include speakers and community rights workshops.
The Bradford Era: Feds knock down Highland Township injection well appeals
by Colin DeppenThe Bradford Era
June 13th, 2014
Highland Township, PA, and CELDF are prepared to defend the Township's Community Rights Ordinance banning wastewater injection wells as Seneca Resources moves a step closer to attempting to site a well.
The Indiana Gazette: GRANT TOWNSHIP: Residents fight plan by driller
by Chauncey RossThe Indiana Gazette
June 4th, 2014
Amidst corporate threats for legal action at a municipal meeting, the Grant Township, PA, Board of Supervisors unanimously adopts a CELDF-drafted Community Bill of Rights Ordinance banning wastewater injection wells.
Press Release: Grant Township Adopts Community Bill of Rights Banning Injection Wells
June 3rd, 2014
The Grant Township, PA, Board of Supervisors vote unanimously to adopt a Community Bill of Rights Ordinance banning injection wells. Grant joins Highland Township, which adopted a similar Ordinance in 2013.
The Pike County Courier: Residents seek 'bill of rights' to ban compressors
by Charles ReynoldsThe Pike County Courier
May 8th, 2014
Milford, PA, residents urge their supervisors to adopt a Community Bill of Rights Ordinance to protect them from compressor stations in the township.
Ridgeway Record: Jay Twp. supports Highland's injection well ordinance
by Jim MeyerRidgeway Record
April 17th, 2014
Highland Township, PA, receives a letter of support from Jay Township, as Highland stands behind its Community Bill of Rights Ordinance banning fracking wastewater injection wells. Nearby Ridgeway Township sent a letter of support in March.
Lehigh Valley Live: Upper Mount Bethel Township supervisors hear arguments for bill of rights to ban sludge
by Lynn Ondrusek Lehigh Valley Live
April 15th, 2014
Upper Mount Bethel Township residents present a Community Bill of Rights Ordinance to their Township Supervisors to protect against the land application of sewage sludge.
The Bradford Era: Highland Township Supervisors receive support in injection well fight
by Chuck AbrahamThe Bradford Era
April 10th, 2014
Support grows from other municipalities as Highland Township Supervisors stand by their Community Rights Ordinance banning fracking wastewater injection wells. The Township faces opposition from Seneca Resources Corporation.
E&E Publishing: Behind multiple local campaigns to ban fracking, one Pa. legal clinic
by Jennifer YachninE&E Publishing
March 31st, 2014
From grassroots organizing to help residents assert Community Rights to clean air, water, and the right to local self-governance in municipalities across the country, to a state constitutional amendment protecting the right to local self-governance in Colorado, CELDF's Ben Price shares CELDF's strategy to help communities facing environmental and economic harms.
The Bradford Era: Highland Township retains law firm in injection well fight
by Colin DeppenThe Bradford Era
March 22nd, 2014
CELDF is retained by Highland Township, PA, to defend the Township's Community Bill of Rights Ordinance banning fracking wastewater injection wells against Seneca Resources Corporation. Seneca wants to site an injection well and has threatened legal action to negate the community's rights.
State Impact: Elk County township prepares for battle against deep injection well
by Katie ColaneriState Impact
March 14th, 2014
As the EPA approves a wastewater injection well permit in Highland Township, PA, for Seneca Resources, the Township Supervisors, with standing-room-only support from the community, retains CELDF to defend their Community Bill of Rights Ordinance banning injection wells.
The Kane Republican: Highland OKs Legal Fights Against Injection Well
by Ted LutzThe Kane Republican
March 13th, 2014
Highland Township Supervisors in Pennsylvania receive overwhelming support from residents to enforce their Community Rights Ordinance banning fracking wastewater injection wells, as Seneca Resources presses forward with a planned well.
Lehigh Valley Live: Upper Mount Bethel Township takes back plan to subsidize fertilizer
by Lynn OndrusekLehigh Valley Live
March 11th, 2014
Upper Mount Bethel Township residents urge Township Supervisors to adopt a Community Bill of Rights banning the spreading of sewage sludge at Monday's Board of Supervisors meeting.
The Bradford Era: Handful of appeals against Highland Township injection well project
by Chuck AbrahamThe Bradford Era
March 6th, 2014
Highland Township, PA, prepares to enforce its CELDF-drafted Community Bill of Rights Ordinance banning injection wells against Seneca Resources Corporation.
The Bradford Era: Highland Township citizens group joins fray over injection well
by Chuck AbrahamThe Bradford Era
February 28th, 2014
Highland Township, PA, stands behind its Community Bill of Rights banning injection wells with the support of Township Supervisors, residents, and CELDF, as Seneca Resources vows to fight the rights-based ordinance.
The Bradford Era: Charges filed in Highland Township injection well fight
by Colin DeppenThe Bradford Era
February 14th, 2014
Highland Township Supervisors have overwhelming community support to enforce the Community Rights Ordinance banning wastewater injection wells against Seneca Resources. As well, an investigation is underway that Seneca's permit was fraudulently obtained.
The Bradford Era: Firm set to offer legal support in Highland Township injection well fight
by Colin DeppenThe Bradford Era
February 14th, 2014
CELDF affirms it will defend Highland Township, PA's Community Bill of Rights Ordinance that bans fracking wastewater injection wells against Seneca Resources, which has been issued a permit by the EPA to site an injection well within the township.
Lehigh Valley Live: LETTER: Township bill of rights is a local grass-roots effort
by John GormanLehigh Valley Live
January 13th, 2014
More Upper Mount Bethel Township, PA, residents press their township supervisors to adopt a Community Bill of Rights banning the spreading of sewage sludge and protecting the community's health, safety, and welfare.
Lehigh Valley Live: LETTER: Upper Mount Bethel Township needs community bill of rights
by Randy I. StettlerLehigh Valley Live
January 11th, 2014
Upper Mount Bethel Township, PA, resident urges township supervisors to follow the will of the people: Adopt a Community Bill of Rights ordinance to stop the land application of sewage sludge and protect the community.
Lehigh Valley Live: LETTER: Accurate information essential in farm-sludge debate
by Caroline SnyderLehigh Valley Live
January 9th, 2014
Upper Mount Bethel Township resident urges consideration of facts and a Community Bill of Rights ordinance banning the spreading of sewage sludge to protect the community from the harmful practice.
WFMZ-TV 69 News: Community bill of rights pitched to Upper Mount Bethel supervisors
by Tom De MartiniWFMZ-TV 69 News
January 7th, 2014
Threatened with the spreading of sewage sludge, Upper Mount Bethel Township, PA, residents and supervisors consider a Community Bill of Rights ordinance banning fracking.
Lehigh Valley Live: Residents, Upper Mount Bethel Township supervisors hear argument for bill of rights that could block sludge spreading
by Lynn Ondrusek Lehigh Valley Live
January 6th, 2014
CELDF speaks to Upper Mount Bethel Township residents and supervisors regarding a Community Bill of Rights ordinance banning the spreading of sewage sludge.
Lehigh Valley Live: Upper Mount Bethel Township supervisors to hear argument for community bill of rights
by Lynn Ondrusek Lehigh Valley Live
January 5th, 2014
Upper Mount Bethel Township, PA, residents urge their township supervisors to adopt a Community Bill of Rights banning the spreading of sewage sludge.
Heartlander Magazine: The Fracking Fight Goes Way Left
by Marita NoonHeartlander Magazine
November 18th, 2013
The gas and oil industry moves forward to stop the Community Rights movement before it spreads further.
Lehigh Valley Live: Residents hope to stop sludge spreading in Upper Mount Bethel Township
by Lynn Ondrusek Lehigh Valley Live
November 18th, 2013
Upper Mount Bethel Township residents in Pennsylvania ask CELDF for assistance in using a Community Bill of Rights to stop the spreading of sewage sludge in their township.
The Bradford Era: Ridgway Twp. votes no on home rule
by Colin DepenBradford Era
November 6th, 2013
Ridgway Township, PA, voters decide not to pursue a home rule charter as a means to local decision-making over what happens in their community, including fracking.
Global Exhange's People to People Blog: A One-Man Fracking Ban
by Caitlin KawaguchiGlobal Exchange
September 30th, 2013
J. Stephen Cleghorn of Reynoldsville, PA, is the first private property owner in the U.S. to create an easement recognizing the Rights of Nature. Any activities, such as fracking, that harm the ecosystem are banned.
Observer-reporter.com: Youngstown debates a ban on fracking
by Natasha KhanObserver-Reporter
September 20th, 2013
Supporters of Youngstown, OH's Community Bill of Rights banning fracking indicate the measure is designed to protect Community Rights - and will not take away jobs.
The Bradford Era: Earthquakes elicit Elk County opposition to proposed injection well
by Colin DeppenThe Bradford Era
August 23rd, 2013
Elk County Commissioners speak out against fracking injection wells.
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.
Press Release: Pennsylvania Community Rights Network (PCRN) Seats Founding Board of Directors
by CELDF
June 21st, 2013
Declaring that the legitimate foundation of government is the right to local self-governance, the Pennsylvania Community Rights Network reviewed bylaws and officially launched the organization on Monday in Bowmanstown, Carbon County.
The Bradford Era: Ridgway Township Supervisors vote against drilling ban ordinance
by Gretchen RokoskyThe Bradford Era
June 19th, 2013
Ridgway Township, PA, Township Supervisors vote against a Community Bill of Rights ordinance that would have protected residents from shale gas drilling and fracking by banning it.
Occupy.com: How a Community Bill of Rights is Empowering People Against Corporations
by Matt HungerOccupy.com
June 18th, 2013
Taking rights to the community level: Occupy.com covers CELDF's work in supporting communities that are building a Community Rights movement.
In These Times: Frack Corporate Personhood
by Anthony MaginiIn These Times
May 8th, 2013
Word of Washington Co, PA, Judge O'Dell-Seneca's recent ruling that corporations do not count as people continues to spread.
State College residents opposed to Penn State natural gas pipeline continue dialogue
by Jessica VanderkolkCentre Daily Times
April 27th, 2013
CELDF invited to State College to teach Democracy School in June as residents continue to organize around stopping a possible gas pipleline through the borough.
Shalefields Grassroots Reporter: It's Time for Communities to Ban Shale Gas Drilling en Masse
by Braden CrooksShalefields Grassroots Reporter
April 19th, 2013
Braden Crooks, founder of Groundswell in State College, PA, writes about what it takes to assert Community Rights to protect communities from fracking and create a sustainable energy future.
Huffington Post: Heroic Women: Judge Debbie O'Dell-Seneca
by Alexia ParksHuffington Post
April 18th, 2013
The Huffington Post celebrates Judge O'Dell-Seneca's historic ruling that corporations are not "persons" and recognizes CELDF's work.
weareCentralPA.com: Proposed Pipeline Fight Still On
by Mallory LaneweareCentralPA.com
April 15th, 2013
STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - What started as a fight to stop a pipeline, is now a fight for community rights....Sunday, nearly 40 people living in the State College borough came together to talk about their next move, and to determine how to make their voices heard, again.
Truthout: Pennsylvania Court Deals Blow to Secrecy-Obsessed Fracking Industry
by Steven RosenfeldTruthout
April 15th, 2013
A Pennsylvania judge in the heart of the Keystone State’s fracking belt has issued a forceful and precedent-setting decision holding that there is no corporate right to privacy under that state’s constitution....CELDF's Thomas Linzey says “The ruling represents the first crack in the judicial armor that has been so meticulously welded together by major corporations."
Centre Daily Times: Community members talk bill of rights, possible future plans for pipeline opposition
by Matt MorganCentre Daily Times
April 15th, 2013
State College, PA residents gather to determine next steps in leveraging their Community Bill of Rights to protect the community from a Columbia Gas pipeline coming through the borough.
Centre Daily Times: Borough pipeline project remains in legal limbo
by Jessica VanderkolkCentre Daily Times
April 13th, 2013
State College, PA residents turn to their Community Bill of Rights as grounds to stop a proposed natural gas pipeline running through the borough. The Bill of Rights, adopted overwhelmingly by residents in November 2011, includes a right to a sustainable energy future, and specifically prohibits gas pipelines.
Centre Daily Times: In State College, it’s not just about the pipeline’s path
by Thomas LinzeyCentre Daily Times
April 11th, 2013
CELDF's Executive Director Thomas Linzey's Op-Ed in the Centre Daily Times: This is about borough residents' community right to a sustainable energy future, included in a Community Bill of Rights amendment to their Home Rule charter in 2011. Overwhelmingly supported by citizens, now it's time to enforce it.
Voices of Central PA: Monday Morning Pipeline News
by Katherine WattVoices of Central PA
April 9th, 2013
State College residents are facing a gas pipeline running through their community. Resident Katherine Watt urges City Council to recognize this issue is about community rights to protect their own health, safety, and welfare, as asserted in their Home Rule Charter amendment establishing a Community Bill of Rights.
Centre Daily Times:State College residents request bill of rights consideration
by Jessica VanderKolkCentre Daily Times
April 8th, 2013
State College, PA residents insist borough City Council enforce Bill of Rights charter amendment to protect community members from proposed gas line. The Community Bill of Rights was adopted in November 2011 by 72% of voters.
Centre Daily Times: State College won’t issue pipeline permit
by Jessica VanderkolkCentre Daily Times
April 3rd, 2013
STATE COLLEGE — The borough manager will not issue any permits for the construction of a natural gas pipeline planned to extend two miles under borough streets to reach Penn State’s West Campus steam plant. The decision comes at the direction of the Borough Council which, after a four-hour public discussion on the Columbia Gas project Monday night, unanimously approved a resolution directing the manager “not to approve any permit allowing construction of the proposed pipeline.”...[R]esidents [brought up] the environmental bill of rights added to the borough’s home rule charter by referendum in 2011. In part, it prohibits pipelines and other fossil fuel facilities “that would violate the right to a sustainable future” for the borough.
Groundswell: PSU Pipeline Violates Community Bill of Rights
Groundswell
March 21st, 2013
Penn State’s plan to convert its campus power plant to natural gas has crashed head-on into the rights of the citizens of State College, PA, as enumerated in Article XI of their borough charter. The plan to feed this power plant with fossil fuels, which sits on the boundary of Penn State’s main campus and downtown State College, calls for a high-pressure gas pipeline snaking through residential neighborhoods and past local businesses. The citizens of State College, together with citizens of neighboring Ferguson Township, have risen up against it.
Allegheny Defense Project: Property Rights Meet Natural Rights in Land Protection
by Matt PetersAllegheny Defense Project
February 28th, 2013
JEFFERSON COUNTY-- A Pennsylvania farmer is pioneering the art of land preservation, in a unique application of a conservation easement on the property deed of his organic farm. By establishing certain deed restrictions and creating a Rights of Nature constitutional document, J. Stephen Cleghorn of Paradise Gardens and Farm has become the first farmer in the state to protect his land for all time using this method. Cleghorn established the easement in memory of his late wife, Dr. Lucinda Hart-González who died of lung cancer on November 14, 2011. On May 10 of 2012 Ms. Hart-González's ashes were scattered on the property and the farm was declared forever inviolate and off-limits to shale gas fracking. The easement is dated as of the first anniversary of her death. The easement was created with the help of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), a nonprofit, Pennsylvania-based law firm.
The Kane Republican: Letter to the editor - Banning Depositing Waste from Shale Gas Drilling
by William J. GrancheThe Kane Republican
February 19th, 2013
A few weeks ago the headline read, "James City injection well plans on track," and this in the face of the Elk County commissioners who unanimously rejected the proposal due to the inherent dangers of contamination and health threats to the people....The township supervisors of James City approved an ordinance meant to protect their own "pursuit of happiness."...The ordinance bans the depositing of waste from the extraction of shale gas....Seneca Resources...plans to ignore concerns of the people and impose their will.
SNL Financial: Seneca Resources considers response to Pa. town's wastewater injection well ban
by Mark HandSNL Financial
February 15th, 2013
Pennsylvania state lawmakers and regulators have tried to maintain a friendly relationship with the shale gas industry. But officials in some municipalities are working from a different script than their colleagues at the state level. In the northwestern part of the state, for example, Seneca Resources Corp. has run into a snag in its plans to drill a hydraulic fracturing wastewater disposal injection well in Highland Township, Pa., a municipality in an area where the company has active natural gas drilling operations....In January, Highland Township supervisors passed a community rights ordinance that essentially banned the planned injection well....In the summer of 2012, Highland Township approached the CELDF, a public interest law firm based in Mercersburg, Pa., over concerns about the planned introduction of fracking waste disposal injection wells, according to Ben Price, projects director for the CELDF. "The supervisors adopted a community bill of rights [drafted by the CELDF], asserting the right to clean air, pure water, healthy environment, rights of nature, right to local self-government, and they banned those injection wells," he said in an interview earlier this month.
State Impact: Pa. Communities Craft Creative Escape Hatch from Drilling Law
by Susan PhillipsState Impact
February 13th, 2013
While the Pennsylvania Supreme Court continues to deliberate the constitutionality of restrictions to local, Marcellus Shale, zoning regulations in the state’s new drilling law, a handful of communities across the Commonwealth are trying a unique approach to keep the industry away. “Community Bill of Rights” ordinances have been adopted by cities as large as Pittsburgh to ban fracking, and as small as Highland Township, Elk County, to prevent an underground wastewater injection well. About 500 people live in Highland Township, a forested, rural area near the Allegheny National Forest in the northwestern part of the state. In January, Highland Township Supervisors passed the “Highland Township’s Community Rights and Protection from Injection Wells Ordinance,” essentially banning a planned injection well proposed by Seneca Resources....The ordinance was drafted with help from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund....
SNL Financial: Law firm facing little resistance to community rights-based bans on fracking
by Mark HandSNL Financial
February 8th, 2013
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is still pitching a perfect game. The public interest law firm has not been hit with an official legal challenge to one of the many "bills of rights" it has drafted for towns whose residents want to keep shale gas drilling out of their communities....The ordinances drafted by the CELDF for Ferguson Township and other communities are rights-based, making them different, for example, from the ordinances adopted in dozens of New York municipalities, including the towns of Dryden and Middlefield, N.Y., which banned hydraulic fracturing using traditional planning and zoning approaches. The city of Pittsburgh is the highest-profile municipality to adopt a rights-based anti-fracking ordinance drafted by the CELDF. The next community expected to take up the rights-based mantle, with the help of the CELDF, is Youngstown, Ohio....Industry attorneys are scratching their heads over the CELDF's unique rights-based approach to the issue of environmental protection and community empowerment.
Centre Daily Times: Letter to the editor - Voters spoke, but not everyone listened
by Pam StecklerCentre Daily Times
January 30th, 2013
As a concerned resident of Ferguson Township for more than 30 years, I was an active participant in petitioning to get the Community Bill of Rights and fracking ban amended to the Home Rule Charter in order to protect our rights to clean air and water and a healthy environment. The action of the Board of Supervisors to consider filing a declaratory judgment of complaint against our right of self-governance was egregious, intolerable and unjustifiable. The action, at the board’s Jan. 21 meeting, to simply remove the item from the agenda without discussion or resident input on the basis of “legal matters” was business as usual (i.e. no transparency) on the part of the board. The Bill of Rights was passed by a fair and legal process. The voters spoke. If the board is unwilling to enforce the will of its own electorate by attempting to nullify the amendment, its members should feel free to step down.
Public Herald: Just Say ‘No’ — Locals Ban Frack Waste in Pa.
by Melissa TroutmanPublic Herald
January 14th, 2013
On January 9, 2013, in otherwise quiet Highland Township in Elk County, Pennsylvania, officials signed a community rights bill into law stopping the deposit of fracking waste within the township. Seneca Resources...had planned to inject its “production fluids” (oil and gas drilling and fracking waste) into an injection well about 2,200 feet from Crystal Springs....Injection wells have a history, both long and recent, of failing ....So, residents of Highland Township asked their municipal officials to say “No.”...Highland Township is the latest on a list of over 140 other communities that have said ‘no’ to factory farms, waste incinerators, corporate water withdrawals, and now fracking by passing rights-based ordinances....Rights-based ordinances are simple but formal, and they’ve been penned with the help of Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF).
The Kane Republican: Highland supervisors OK law on drilling waste
by Ted LutzThe Kane Republican
January 10th, 2013
Highland Township now has an ordinance that bans deposits from the drilling of Marcellus Shale natural gas wells. Township Supervisors Charlie Vaughn and Paul Burton St. [sic] agreed Wednesday to adopt the ordinance, which is seen as a way to stop Seneca Resources from disposing of "produced water".... A township "citizens group" previously called for the supervisors to enact the ordinance. The law is based on an ordinance that reportedly has been adopted in other municipalities in the state as an environmental-protection type measure to establish "a Bill of Rights." The ordinance, in part, claims that the "injection" of waste from Marcellus Shale wells would "pose a significant threat" to the "health, safety and welfare" of township residents.
Press Release: Highland Township, PA Adopts Community Bill of Rights that Bans Toxic Injection Wells
by CELDF
January 9th, 2013
This evening, the Board of Supervisors of Highland Township in Elk County, Pennsylvania, unanimously adopted an ordinance that establishes a community Bill of Rights, and forbids corporations “to deposit, store. ‘treat,’ inject or process waste water, ‘produced water,’ ‘frack’ water, brine or other materials, chemicals or by-products that have been used in the extraction of shale gas onto or into the land, air, or waters within Highland Township.” This prohibition specifically applies to disposal injection wells. The ordinance recognizes rights to pure water, clean air, a sustainable energy future, the recognition that the people of Highland at all times enjoy and retain “an inalienable and indefeasible right to self-governance in the community where they reside.” It also recognizes natural communities and ecosystems to have “inalienable and fundamental rights to exist and flourish within Highland Township,”...
EcoWatch: Restoring Democracy in the Fight Against Fracking
by Thomas LinzeyEcoWatch
December 26th, 2012
Same story. Different day. People are threatened by an activity that will injure them, and they work overtime to pass a law that bans the activity. An affected corporation—or industry association—then sues the municipality, contending that the community can’t prohibit what the state allows, and that the ban violates the “rights” of the corporation. The upshot of these machinations is that the municipality then either repeals the ban or is bankrupted trying to defend it. Most likely, the insurance corporation for the municipality brokers a deal in which the municipality agrees not to enforce the ordinance in exchange for the corporation dropping its lawsuit. Day after day, issue after issue, community after community, this machine has been humming along happily (for some) ever since the late 1800’s. All under a structure of law so perfectly constructed that very few understand how it actually works in practice. Under a structure of law that lawyers, law professors, elected officials, judges and established activist organizations call “democracy.”
The Progress: In Brady, group still fighting against proposed well
by Josh WoodsThe Progress
December 4th, 2012
LUTHERSBURG - The fight against a proposed disposal injection well in Brady Township continued at last night's board of supervisors meeting. Resident Marianne Atkinson spoke on behalf of an overflow crowd who is against locating the well in the Highland Street residential area. Atkinson asked the Board of Supervisors to consider adopting a community bill of rights ordinance to protect the health, safety and welfare of township residents. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund would write the bill of rights ordinance and could defend it in court at no cost to the township, she said. The only costs the township might incur are mileage and court filing fees, she said. "I'm not confident we have anything to present to the Environmental Protection Agency that will stop the injection well," said Atkinson. "It seems like a CELDF ordinance is our best and only hope."
Press Action: Pa. Farmer's Anti-Fracking Conservation Easement Serves as Model for Other Landowners
Press Action
November 16th, 2012
When Pennsylvania organic farmer Dr. J. Stephen Cleghorn publicly announced plans to create a first-in-the-nation conservation easement on his land, with the aim of preventing hydraulic fracturing, he was hoping his act would encourage others to do the same. It’s been only a few days since Cleghorn made the announcement, and already other landowners have contacted him to learn more about his novel approach to keeping natural gas drillers at bay....“I am imposing here, in partnership with nature and the CELDF, a new protection that will make it impossible for the gas in the shale below us to be drilled because it cannot be done in a way that does not at the very least harm the ecosystems of the deep biosphere where the shale exists and certainly because it is done from the surface, it can harm the ecosystems at the surface, both through air and water pathways and we’re not going to let that happen,” Cleghorn said.
Press Release: Pennsylvania Landowner Recognizes Rights of Nature through a First-in-the Country Deed Easement: Bans Fracking for Shale Gas
by J. Stephen Cleghorn, PhDParadise Gardens and Farm
November 12th, 2012
Paradise Community, Henderson Township, Jefferson County, PA, November 14, 2012 – J. Stephen Cleghorn, PhD, a Pennsylvania organic farmer, has become the first landowner in the United States to use a conservation easement to recognize and protect the rights of water, forest, and wild ecosystems. The easement then bans activities, like shale gas hydro-fracking, which would violate those rights, and elevates the rights of nature above the power claimed by extractive energy corporations to despoil the environment. Cleghorn is the owner of Paradise Gardens and Farm– a fifty acre organic farm that sits above the Marcellus Shale formation in Henderson Township, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. Cleghorn established the easement in memory of his late wife, Dr. Lucinda Hart-González who died of lung cancer on November 14, 2011. In a ceremony held on May 10 of this year Ms. Hart-González's ashes were scattered on the property and the farm was declared forever inviolate and off-limits to shale gas fracking.
CELDF Press Release: Home Rule Charter Amendment Adopted by Popular Vote Elevates Community Rights over Corporate Privileges Bans Fracking, Injection Wells, Shale Gas Development in the Township
by CELDF
November 7th, 2012
Voters in Ferguson Township, Centre County Pennsylvania adopted a Community Bill of Rights guaranteeing the right to clean air, pure water, a sustainable energy future, the peaceful enjoyment of home, the right of ecosystems to exist and flourish, and the right to exercise self-government in the local community. To protect these rights, the amendment also bans corporations from conducting shale gas drilling and related activities in the community.
Centre Daily Times: Ferguson Township approves environmental bill of rights
by Jessica VanderKolkCentre Daily Times
November 6th, 2012
FERGUSON TOWNSHIP — With five of eight precincts approving, voters passed a referendum to add an environmental bill of rights to the township’s home rule charter Tuesday. According to unofficial county numbers, the measure passed 4,235 to 3,883. The measure outlines citizen rights to things like clean air, clean water, and sustainable communities. It also declares a ban on natural gas drilling and all actions related to the fracking industry.
Centre Daily Times: Ferguson residents to vote on environmental bill of rights
by Jessica VanderKolkCentre Daily News
October 31st, 2012
A referendum related to environmental rights set for a vote in Ferguson Township has drawn some controversy between the township and the provision’s supporters. Members of Groundswell PA, a group advocating for sustainable communities, successfully petitioned to get an environmental bill of rights on the Nov. 6 ballot for potential acceptance by residents. The group did the same in State College last year, and voters approved the provision. The measure would amend the township’s home rule charter to state that residents have rights to clean air and water, self-government and a sustainable energy future. It also would ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process being used across the state to produce natural gas.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The Next Page: When the streets ran with gas
by Joel A. TarrPittsburgh Post-Gazette
October 28th, 2012
Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania have had a long history of natural gas development. In spite of various technical differences, there are striking similarities between issues from our early history and the current debate over drilling in the Marcellus Shale. One of these concerns relates to the right of municipalities to enact regulations controlling natural gas operations within their boundaries without conflicting with state law. This is a major issue in regard to shale fracking for natural gas development today. But it was also prominent in the 1880s during the early days of traditional natural gas development and distribution.
Pittsburgh City Paper: On the Record with Wanda Guthrie of the Thomas Merton Center's Committee on Environmental Justice
by Lauren DalyPittsuburgh City Paper
September 19th, 2012
With Marcellus Shale drilling taking hold in Pennsylvania, municipalities like South Fayette and Pittsburgh have enacted their own regulations curtailing it — attracting scrutiny and challenges from the industry. Meanwhile, activists like Wanda Guthrie are trying to push communities to get involved with the policies that shape the environment around them.... [Guthrie says about PA's Act 13]: "Even if they give rights back to the municipalities, we're still stuck with the Oil and Gas Act. It's kind of like we're going to have a fracking problem, anyway. From the beginning I've said, we don't have a drilling problem, we have a democracy problem."
Press Release: Thomas Merton Center Signs on to the Chambersburg Declaration
Thomas Merton Center
September 5th, 2012
Pittsburgh, PA (September 5, 2012) The Thomas Merton Center became the latest organization to sign onto The Chambersburg Declaration, which denounces the concentration of "wealth and greater governing power through the exploitation of human and natural communities," and declares that "environmental and economic sustainability can be achieved only when the people affected by governing decisions are the ones who make them." The Chambersburg Declaration calls for the convening of a People's Constitutional Convention with delegates chosen from every County and Township "representing municipal communities, who will propose constitutional changes to secure the inalienable right to local, community self-government free of state and corporate preemption."
The Standard Speaker: Packer Twp. to revamp biosolids ordinance
by Mia LightThe Standard Speaker
September 5th, 2012
Packer Township no longer has an ordinance that outlaws the use of sewage sludge as soil fertilizer. But, according to the board of supervisors, a new, stronger ordinance will soon be in place....Board Chairman William Swineberg said...[that] supervisors have decided, on the advice of attorneys from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund CELDF), to revoke the existing ordinance and prepare to adopt a stronger version of the law.
Guest Editorial: Why the Recent Act 13 Decision Won’t Help to Stop Fracking
by Thomas LinzeyCELDF
August 22nd, 2012
Recently, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania struck down key parts of Act 13, the now-infamous Pennsylvania state law that sought to nullify municipal zoning restrictions on natural gas extraction and gas “fracking” across the State....While the Commonwealth Court did rule to limit the reach of Act 13, the decision was not based on the right of communities to stop fracking. Instead, the Court ruled that the State couldn’t use the Act to force gas extraction operations onto land not locally zoned for it, because such coercion would interfere with the rights of neighboring property owners. It was thus a property rights decision, not a community rights one.

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