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Big Oil and Gas Threaten Community Self-Determination with New State Preemption Legislation

Oregon HB 2480 would expressly preempt local governments from any
authority over the transportation or storage of fossil fuels.

Legislation That is Part of a Pattern of States Denying Local Democratic Rights

Wednesday, February 9, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Mary Geddry
[email protected]
541-551-1492

CORVALLIS – HB 2480 was introduced in January by Oregon House Representative Bentz on behalf of Pac/West. The aim of HB 2480, as summarized on the Oregon State Legislature website, is to, “Preempt city, county or other local government from enacting charter provision, ordinance, resolution or other provision regulating expansion of infrastructure for primary purpose of transporting or storing fossil fuels.” The bill currently sits in the House Committee on Energy and Environment.

Pac/West is a corporate public relations and lobbyist firm based in Salem, Oregon. The organization has been assisting in advancing pro-drilling agendas in Colorado over the last four years.  Colorado fracked gas would be transported through the Oregon Pacific Connector pipeline/Jordan Cove export terminal if that fossil fuel project were to be operationalized.

In December 2016, Portland banned any new fossil fuel storage facilities as well as the expansion of existing facilities through a zoning law.

Coos County will be voting on Measure 6-162 in May which would secure a Right to a Sustainable Energy Future that would prohibit unsustainable fossil fuel projects like Jordan Cove. Columbia County is currently circulating an initiative petition to be on the November ballot for a similar rights-based law as Coos County.

Under HB 2480 no communities – city or county – could adopt such laws as Portland, Coos, and Columbia, and the new law would presumably nullify any existing local laws found to be in conflict.

Pattie Gouveia, co-lead on the YES on Measure 6-162 campaign in Coos County, stated, “The transportation, storage, and burning of fossil fuels is absolutely a local issue, whereby the local must be able to assert the greatest authority about what happens in the community. HB 2480 is just another example of the Oregon legislature advancing corporate interests by denying local democratic rights.”

In addition to recent federal executive orders, applauded by the fossil fuel industry, to continue with the build out of the Dakota Access Pipeline and reactivate the Keystone XL Pipeline, the industry has also been moving legislation and litigation to suppress local control in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Colorado in order to advance infrastructure expansion of pipelines, drill wells, and post-drilling waste storage.

“HB 2480 violates not only our right to a healthy climate by accelerating the burning of fossil fuels, but it also violates our right of local self-government. If we, where we live, don’t push for a sustainable energy future, one that doesn’t include fossil fuels and corporate control of energy, who will?”, says Nancy Ward from Columbia County Sustainable Action for a Green Environment.

“GMO seed, annexations, rent control, minimum wage, pesticides are just a few examples of how the state, on behalf of corporations, has commandeered legal authority over our Oregon communities. We have state laws here in Oregon that forbid communities from legislating on any of these issues where it comes to advancing greater health, safety, and welfare protection. HB 2480 is merely the latest on a long list of corporate fed actions by the state to keep communities and the people that live there contained and controlled,” says Dana Allen, board member of the Oregon Community Rights Network.

The Oregon Community Rights Network launched a constitutional amendment effort through Oregonians for Community Rights in 2015 that would secure the right of local community self-government against such preemptive actions of HB 2480.That amendment is currently being blocked for further petition circulation by the state.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

To learn more about the ORCRN please visit www.orcrn.org. Information on Coos County and Columbia County community rights efforts: www.cooscommons.org and https://www.facebook.com/ccsage.org/. More on Oregon’s Right of Local Community Self-Government constitutional amendment: http://oregoncommunityrights.org/amendment/

ABOUT THE ORCRN – OREGON COMMUNITY RIGHTS NETWORK
The ORCRN is a 501(c)(3) made up of community rights activists from various communities in Oregon. The mission of the ORCRN is to support and empower communities to secure local self-determination and and self-governance rights, superior to corporate power, in order to protect fundamental rights, quality of life, the natural environment, public health, and safety.

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Colorado Supreme Court Rules Local Self-Government State Constitutional Amendment Can Advance to Next Stage Toward Ballot

Press Release: Colorado Supreme Court Rules Local Self-Government State Constitutional Amendment Can Advance to Next Stage Toward Ballot

(3/11/2016)

Upholds People’s Right to Initiative from Oil & Gas  Industry Challenge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


CONTACT:
Ben Price, National Organizing Director
[email protected]
717-254-3233

MERCERSBURG, PA:  This week, the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed a decision of the Colorado State Title Board, clearing the way for a state constitutional amendment initiative to advance toward  the November ballot. The initiative guarantees the right of local community self-government to the people of Colorado.

The Community Rights measure was drafted by the Colorado Community Rights Network, in partnership with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). As communities across the state face a range of environmental and economic harms – including fracking and livable wage issues – Coloradans are advancing the right to local community self-government in order to secure the rights of people, communities, and nature, and protect against fracking and other activities that would violate those rights.

The challenge to the measure was filed by Tracee Bentley, President of the Colorado Petroleum Council and former Legislative Director for Governor John Hickenlooper, and Stan Dempsey, President of the Colorado Petroleum Association. The full text of the Court’s ruling wasted no ink in ruling against the oil and gas industry’s efforts  to keep the proposed amendment from the voters.

The Colorado Community Rights Amendment is officially designated as “Proposed Initiative 2015-2016 #40.”  The title of the amendment, as designated by the Colorado Secretary of State, is as follows:

An amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning a right to local self-government, and, in connection therewith, declaring that the people have an inherent right to local self-government in counties and municipalities, including the power to enact laws to establish, protect, and secure rights of natural persons, communities, and nature, as well as the power to define or eliminate the rights and powers of corporations or business entities to prevent them from interfering with those rights; and exempting such local laws from preemption or nullification by any federal, state, or international law if the local laws do not restrict fundamental rights or weaken legal protections for natural persons, their local communities, or nature.

“This is a great day for Coloradans, workers, our environment and communities across the state, and a major moment for people fighting the abuses of corporate power,” said Cliff Willmeng, organizer for the campaign. “We will now begin what could be considered the largest volunteer, grassroots campaign for a Colorado state ballot initiative in our state’s history. We aim to make democracy legal in the most important of places – where we live.”

CELDF’s National Organizing Director, Ben Price, stated, “The right to initiative has been affirmed in the Court’s decision, despite industry efforts to quash it. Today, the people of Colorado begin the work to make real the American Revolutionary ideal – and the inalienable right – of local community self-government.”

Coloradans for Community Rights (CCR), the grassroots organization formed to advance the 2016 amendment, has trained over 100 petitioners from across the state. With the Court’s decision, they are now beginning to gather the nearly 100,000 valid signatures necessary to place the measure on the November ballot. Organizations from across the state have endorsed the measure, and will be contributing volunteers.

Colorado Part of Growing National Movement

Colorado residents are advancing Community Rights as part of the broader Community Rights Movement building across the United States. Local communities and state Community Rights Networks across the country are partnering with CELDF to advance fundamental democratic, environmental, and economic rights. They have worked with CELDF to establish Community Rights and the Rights of Nature in law, and prohibit extraction,  fracking, factory farming, water privatization, and other industrial activities as violations of those rights. Communities are joining together within and across states, working with CELDF to advance systemic change – recognizing our existing system of law and governance as inherently undemocratic and unsustainable.

 

Additional Information

For additional information regarding the Colorado Community Rights Amendment, visit www.coloradansforcommunityrights.org. To learn about the Community Rights Movement, visit www.celdf.org. To read the amendment text, visit here.

 

About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit, public interest law firm providing free and affordable legal services to communities facing threats to their local environment, local agriculture, local economy, and quality of life. Its mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.

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Join ORCRN at PIELC 2016

Join Oregon Community Rights Network for this panel…

Following Nature’s Lead for Civil Disobedience: Building a New Direct Action Movement Community by Community
(LAW 142) 2:20 – 3:35

As nature goes on the offense with ever increasing catastrophic
climatic events, our activism stays stuck in the 1970s. Our organizing has refused to confront a structure of law that protects environmentally destructive corporate behavior.This panel is about the growing Community Rights movement and how communities are “occupying the law” to dismantle the corporate state, legalize sustainability and secure nature’s rights, and the convergence of community rights with direct action aimed at physically stopping harmful corporate projects.

Panelists:
Kai Huschke, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund Organizer
Rob Dickinson, Organizer, Oregonians for Community Rights
Mary Grace Hickok, Organizer, Cascadia Forest Defenders

National Community Rights Network Holds Historic First Meeting

CONTACT: Cliff Willmeng, [email protected], 303-478-6613

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 30, 2014
SEVEN SPRINGS, PENNSYLVANIA: At its historic first meeting earlier this month, members of the National Community Rights Network (NCRN) gathered to seat their permanent Board of Directors and accelerate the work of advancing the rights of local communities to the state and national level.

The NCRN has grown out of the grassroots organizing of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), which has assisted communities to advance Community Rights at the local level for nearly 20 years. More than 160 communities across the U.S. have adopted CELDF-drafted Community Bills of Rights, protecting community rights to clean air and water, sustainable food, energy, and other systems, and the right to local self-governance.

Since 2010, these same communities have joined together to launch state Community Rights Networks (CRNs) consisting of municipalities, grassroots organizations, and local government officials supporting Community Rights, in order to drive those rights to the state level. The NCRN is the next step in that advancement.

“The NCRN has rapidly become the leading voice in the country for Community Rights and the right to local, community self-government. It is the movement that environmental, civil rights, and labor activists have been looking for – one that liberates communities across the country from being at the mercy of corporate “rights” and governmental powers exercised by those corporations,” said Thomas Linzey, Executive Director of CELDF. Linzey added, “The time has come to free ourselves from those constraints and become self-governing in the name of economic and environmental sustainability.”

President of the NCRN, Cliff Willmeng, of Lafayette, Colorado, stated, “People and communities have for too long lived with the regulation of our freedoms, and the exploitation of our labor and natural environment. The NCRN is a leap forward for genuine grassroots organizing, and provides a platform for systemic, democratic changes to our government and economy.”

The new board members represent Pennsylvania (PACRN), New Hampshire (NHCRN), Oregon (ORCRN), Ohio (OHCRN), Colorado (COCRN), New Mexico (NMCCR) and Washington (WACRN). Each delegate has engaged in Community Rights efforts locally and is dedicated to elevating the rights of communities above the claimed “rights” of corporations in order to protect and establish sustainable food, energy, economic, and other systems.

 

The NCRN is committed to providing education, outreach, and support for the development of additional statewide Community Rights Networks. The organization is partnering with state and local Community Rights advocates to build a grassroots, people-driven, Community Rights Movement that will democratize and humanize decision-making at all levels.

The NCRN mission is to assist our state Community Rights Networks to educate people across the country on local, community self-governance and community rights; secure the inalienable rights of all people, communities, and ecosystems through local self-governance; assert community rights to empower and liberate communities from state preemption and corporate harm; and advance those efforts toward state and federal constitutional change.

NCRN Formation

Dear ORCRN,

Greetings! It is with great excitement that we announce an important development in the Community Rights Movement.

On October 18, 2014, an historic meeting of representatives from the state Community Rights Networks (CRNs) convened in the mountains of Seven Springs, PA, to seat the Board of Directors of the National Community Rights Network (NCRN) and to advance the rights of local communities to the state and national level.

Two NCRN Board members were delegated from each of the seven state CRNs: New Hampshire (NHCRN), Pennsylvania (PACRN), Ohio (OHCRN), Colorado (COCRN), New Mexico (NMCCR), Oregon (ORCRN), and Washington (WACRN). Our Board members are engaged in Community Rights efforts locally, therefore fully comprised of powerfully seasoned and motivated individuals who are deeply committed to advancing the Community Rights Movement.

We are the National Community Rights Network!

NCRN Board members stand resolute in undertaking the work that lies ahead in partnership with our state CRN members. We acknowledge and celebrate the hard work and dedication of the state CRN co-coordinators, members, and supporters, and we look forward to allying with them in broadening their statewide efforts as we also work to advance Community Rights to the national level.

The NCRN mission is to assist our state Community Rights Networks to educate people across the country on local, community self-governance and community rights; secure the inalienable rights of all people, communities, and ecosystems through local self-governance; assert community rights to empower and liberate communities from state preemption and corporate harm; and advance those efforts toward state and federal constitutional change.

Over the next year, we will build our infrastructure, broaden CRN educational outreach, provide support to state CRNs, and begin drafting federal constitutional amendment and legislative language.

Longer term, the NCRN will educate the wider public; grow the network by adding new state CRNs to the NCRN; train organizers throughout the country; and nurture a Community Rights Movement that will democratize and humanize decision-making at every level, such that sustainable systems are legal and the rights of all people and ecosystems are protected.

NCRN Board of Directors officers are: President – Cliff Willmeng,CO; Vice-President – Cindy Kudlik, Ohio; Secretary – Eron King, OR; and Treasurer – Stacey Schmader, PA.

We are proud to be your representatives on the NCRN Board. We are excited by the development of the NCRN and the support it will bring to our state Networks. We welcome you to contact either of us about any questions or concerns you might have regarding the NCRN. Our contact information is listed below.

Attached is the press release announcing the formation of the NCRN. We encourage you to send it to your regional and local media. Thank you!

Warm regards and solidarity,

Eron King

ORCRN Board president

Lane County Oregon

 

Audrey Moore

ORCRN Board secretary

Josephine County Oregon