Tag Archives: CELDF

Could A Community Bill Of Rights Keep Out A Gas Pipeline?

By Jes Burns, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Southern Oregon communities along a proposed natural gas pipeline route are looking for creative ways to stop the project. Douglas and Coos County residents hope a Community Bill of Rights will give them a legal avenue to assert local control.

The pipeline for the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay would run through the property of Stacey McLaughlin.  She doesn’t want it there. And speaking out before government officials has been less than satisfying.

“It feels like a waste of my time,” she said.

So McLaughlin is organizing her Douglas County neighbors to enact a community bill of rights.  It would give cities and counties the legal grounds to say no to projects that violate local values. Continue reading Could A Community Bill Of Rights Keep Out A Gas Pipeline?

Pennsylvania Ecosystem Fights Corporation For Rights In Landmark Fracking Lawsuit

Grant Township Supervisor Jon Perry with residents Judy Wanchism and her daughter, Stacy Long, at a fishing hole on Little Mahoning Creek. Both Wanchism and Long appealed a permit to inject fracking waste in the township and Little Mahoning Watershed. © Kyle Pattison for Public Herald
Grant Township Supervisor Jon Perry with residents Judy Wanchism and her daughter, Stacy Long, at a fishing hole on Little Mahoning Creek. Both Wanchism and Long appealed a permit to inject fracking waste in the township and Little Mahoning Watershed. © Kyle Pattison for Public Herald

By Melissa Troutman, Public Herald

For the first time in United States history, an ecosystem — a watershed, to be exact — has filed to defend itself in a lawsuit. The suit aims to reverse a local ban on the injection of fracking wastewater.

Little Mahoning Watershed in Indiana County, Pennsylvania recently filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to defend its own rights to exist and flourish. But watersheds can’t hire lawyers or speak, so how can one defend its rights, and do watersheds even have rights?

The Little Mahoning Creek waterway flows through Grant Township, where elected officials unanimously passed a “Community Bill of Rights Ordinance” in June 2014 which declared “the rights of human and natural communities to water and a healthy environment,” including what’s commonly called the “Rights of Nature.”

The ordinance states that any legal action to “defend the rights of ecosystems or natural communities…shall bring that action in the name of the ecosystem.” This gives the Little Mahoning Watershed a kind of ‘personhood’ within Grant Township and gives authority to the township’s attorney to litigate on the watershed’s behalf. Continue reading Pennsylvania Ecosystem Fights Corporation For Rights In Landmark Fracking Lawsuit