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Restoring Democracy in the Fight Against Fracking

From 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. Read More ...
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Barnstead, NH: Establishing the Community Right to Water and Self-Governance

From If you were to drive through Barnstead, NH you would not suspect that there was anything special about the people who live here. It’s a typical small town in New Hampshire, with a country store with a “guns for sale” billboard, a post office, a fire station and a community church that line both sides of Route 126 as the road quickly takes you through and out of the town’s center. The community looks much like many others in our small state. If you attended a selectmen’s meeting—of our local elected officials—you’d hear all of the same conversations you might hear in any small town in New England—discussions on which roads to pave, how to appropriate town funds, and appeals from taxpayers who need a break on their tax bills. Our population hovers around 4,000 and we are almost equally divided, politically. We’re almost all of European decent, with some welcome exceptions to that rule. Read More ...
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The Right to Self-Govern

by: Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Kai Huschke Posted on: March 29, 2012 By Kai Huschke, Washington organizer for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund and Campaign Director for Envision Spokane – working to pass a Community Bill of Rights that recognizes the rights of neighborhoods, the environment, and workers as superior to corporate rights in the City of Spokane. Editor’s Note: This piece by Kai Huschke speaks for itself and gets at the root of our reality. It’s election night 2011, 8:45 in the evening in a small neighborhood situated along the Spokane River near downtown Spokane. An excited roar erupts from around the kitchen table. Fifteen seconds later an even larger explosion of cheers booms from the basement. Delayed as it was (the difference between website and television election results), what each group saw was that local Proposition 1 – A Community Bill of Rights was deadlocked at 50:50 against corporate rights. Quite stunning, considering at that same time in that same house on virtually the same date two years earlier many of those same people watched a similar measure to elevate community rights over corporate rights being torched by the influence of corporate powerbrokers 3 to 1. The citizen-lead ...
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Statement on Efforts to Amend the U.S. Constitution following Citizens United

CELDF January 2012 A great deal of activism has emerged in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC.  In that case, the Court declared that corporate First Amendment “free speech” rights were violated by federal law which limited corporate spending in elections. Following the ruling, several groups began working to propose amendments to the U.S.  Constitution to overturn Citizens United. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund was invited to participate in those efforts based on our ongoing legislative work on corporate “rights.”  For nearly a decade, we have taken the lead, assisting several dozen municipal governments and communities – in Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, and Virginia – to adopt first-in-the-nation local laws which refuse to recognize the legal privileges erroneously bestowed by the courts as “corporate rights.”  The first such ordinances were adopted into law by two municipalities in Clarion County, Pennsylvania, in 2002 – making those communities the first in the country to elevate the rights of people above the claimed “rights” of corporations. Municipalities are now coalescing at the grassroots level to begin to envision what state and federal constitutional changes are necessary to liberate them ...
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