News

Judge sets path for voters to decide renewable energy ordinance

Advocates will move forward with efforts to get ordinance on 2016 ballot

The second of two legal challenges filed in opposition to a proposed “community Bill of Rights” relating to energy production and consumption in Columbia County was resolved Friday, Aug. 14.

Columbia County Circuit Judge Ted Grove handed down small revisions to language in a ballot title for a community bill of rights that is part of an effort to curb the transport and production of non-renewable energy in the county.

Proponents of the community bill of rights and the corresponding Sustainable Energy Future Ordinance hope to ask voters to consider a measure to regulate corporations’ ability to transport and refine fossil fuels within county limits, favoring a plan for more renewable energy sources.

In February, two complaints were filed in Columbia County Circuit Court in an effort to block the initiative.

One challenged Columbia County District Attorney Steve Atchison’s approval of ballot title language, the other challenged the county clerk’s approval of the measure as being fit for signature gathering from the public.

Atchison’s office is responsible for certifying the title of ballot measures before they get circulated for signatures within the public and approved to be placed on an election ballot.

Proponents of the measure have established a group called Columbia County Sustainable Action for Green Energy. Members Nancy Ward and Brady Preheim are a couple of the chief advocates in getting the ordinance and bill of rights on the ballot.

“The overarching impetus is to show people that they have no rights,” Ward said Friday, Aug. 14. “That more power lies with corporations than the hands of the people.”

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Despite drought, California is still bottling water for export

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There is an old saying “as goes California, so goes the nation.” If that is true, I would say that the nation had best strap on its seat-belt for some hard-times ahead — and some battles over resources between ordinary citizens and big corporations.

…”California’s water supply comes from two main sources: surface water, or water that travels or gathers on the ground, like rivers, streams, and lakes; and groundwater, which is water that is pumped out from the ground. Herein lies the problem. Lacking a cohesive statewide groundwater policy, California is wide open for multinational corporations to legally obtain water rights to the groundwater on their privately owned properties. And, they are not inclined to be particularly considerate neighbors…

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Thomas Linzey: Denton must stand up for its rights

Opinion | Denton Record-Chronical | Published: 08 May 2015

To the good people of Denton, we say “welcome to the party.”
Well, it’s not really a party, actually more like a wake, where communities from across the country are mourning the loss of local control and democracy.

Others in attendance include the people of Lafayette, Colorado, who banned fracking and were promptly sued by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.
They then watched their state government join other lawsuits on the side of industry, rather than on the side of the people of Colorado. Also in the crowd are the people of Broadview Heights, Ohio, who banned fracking and were sued by oil and gas corporations.

Joining us from the heart of the Marcellus Shale region are the people of Grant and Highland townships in Pennsylvania, who banned frack wastewater injection wells. They were also sued by oil and gas corporations.

As well are the people of Mora County, New Mexico, who banned oil and gas extraction and were then sued by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell.

The people of those communities and Denton join hundreds of thousands of others across the country, who live in communities that have attempted to stop certain harms by passing laws that are then overridden by the very corporations seeking to harm them.

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Oregon’s 1859 Constitution gave state lawmakers exclusive power to propose constitutional amendments, the unassailable authority to impose obnoxious statutes, and the right, at will, to amend any local charter or veto any local law. In addition — per the federal Constitution — the Legislature, not the voters, decided who would represent Oregon in the U.S. Senate.

Over the next 50 years, Oregonians wrested those powers from the Legislature and took them into their own hands. But now those powers are slipping away.

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