“From New Hampshire to Pennsylvania to Ohio to Oregon, folks are waking up to the fact that we don’t live in a democracy, and we are reclaiming their communities so that the people hold the trump cards, not the corporations.” The extract is from an article in the Spring issue of Susquehanna, a publication of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.
Significantly, as the engines of yet another multi-million dollar election begin to hum, and as growing numbers of voters in the United States feel unrepresented by the electoral process, the activities of the CELDF in defense of community rights introduce a refreshing political and legal panorama for persons concerned with the environment and the encroachment of corporate power on the lives of citizens.
In the mentioned article, entitled “Communities and Pipelines: knowing When to Fold ‘Em When the Game is Rigged…And Dealing a New Hand,” it is pointed out that communities have stopped writing to the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) because they no longer believe it defends their interests.
“Instead, they’re refusing to gamble on their future, and are reclaiming their right to collectively decide that the future of their community shouldn’t be divided by a dangerous fossil fuel pipeline.”
Among activities citizens have carried out to question the “rights” of corporations, the Susquehanna mentions that in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, residents of Martic and Conestoga Townships have recently presented CELDF drafted rights based ordinances to their Township Supervisors to “prohibit harmful, massive 42 inch gas pipleline from being forced into their communities.” The Supervisors in both communities refused to pass those Ordinances.
However, in more and more communities across the country there is concern and struggle to defend community rights against the impressive legal, economic and political power of the corporations.
For example, in Spokane, Washington, a coalition of citizens, labor union locals, churches, businesses and social justice advocates are discussing the presentation of a Worker Bill of Rights that would secure the right of a family wage when workers are employed by a large employer, the right to equal pay for equal work and the right to be protected from wrongful termination.