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In fracking hot spots, police and gas industry share intelligence on activists

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Last month an anti-fracking group settled a lawsuit against Pennsylvania, after it was erroneously labeled a potential terrorist threat. The case dates back to 2010 and was an embarrassment for then-Governor Ed Rendell.

But documents obtained by StateImpact Pennsylvania show law enforcement here and in other parts of the country continue to conduct surveillance on anti-fracking activists, leading some to claim their Constitutional rights are being violated.

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Court orders initiative vote

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Appeal ruling: Put Envision Spokane on ballot

January 30, 2015
Nicholas Deshais The Spokesman-Review

Envision Spokane, the twice-failed initiative seeking to bolster environmental protection and neighborhood and labor rights, will be before voters again, after a decision Thursday by a state appellate court.

The ruling reverses a 2013 decision by a Superior Court judge to remove the controversial measure from that year’s general election ballot. The court ordered the city to put the measure on the next available ballot.

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2015 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference

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Rights of Nature: Opinion V. Fact

Communities around the globe are crafting laws that change the legal status of natural communities from being property under the law to living entities with inalienable rights and legal standing. Residents possess the legal authority to enforce those rights on behalf of natural communities.  Gain a deeper understanding of these rights based ordinances being introduced and how the rights of nature are the legal underpinning to enforce the local laws to protect the health safety and welfare of all.

With panelists…

Kai Huschke of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
Ann Kneeland of Community Rights Lane County and legal council
Stacey Mclaughlin of Douglas County Townsfolk for Community Rights
Cliff Wilmeng of Colorado Community Rights Network

CELDF STATEMENT: Strikes law as violating New Mexico Oil and Gas Law, finds communities do not have authority to say “no” to fracking

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January 20th, 2015

Thomas Linzey, Esq., Executive Director
[email protected], (978) 282-0110

MORA COUNTY, NM:  In 2013, the Mora County Commission enacted the Mora County Community Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance establishing the right to local, democratic self-governance, and rights to water and a healthy environment.

The Ordinance prohibits fracking for shale gas and oil as part of its ban on the extraction of hydrocarbons in the County.  Those activities are prohibited as a violation of the rights of the people and ecosystems of the County.

In doing so, Mora County became the first County in the U.S. to adopt a local bill of rights banning commercial oil and gas extraction within a municipality.

Energy corporations promptly filed two lawsuits against Mora County, claiming that the community does not possess the right to protect itself from fracking and oil and gas extraction.  Mora County is defending the Ordinance in both lawsuits.  Read More

Challenging Bedrock Law: “Dillon’s Rule” in Detroit and Beyond

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Detroit’s hardship has garnered much attention: the privatization; the racism; thewater shutoffs; the debt; the neglect; the “new form of local government.” As Maureen Taylor of Michigan Welfare Rights Organization makes clear, the profit being made off poverty in Detroit “is beyond horrible.” Michigan’s right-wing governor and state legislature take blame, and rightfully so. But it’s more than a particular regime that brought all these trials to Detroit and 10 other Michigan cities: Flint, Inkster, River Rouge, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Lincoln Park, Benton Harbor, Ecorse, Pontiac and Allen Park. A structure of law that blankets the entire nation is involved.

Detroit and the other city governments have been effectively dissolved. Voting for mayor or city council yields no power. The elected governments are symbolic – toothless. In Detroit, all governing power resides in one man – Kevyn Orr – the state-appointed “emergency manager.” He performs all functions of local government – unilaterally.

And though egregious, Detroit’s dismemberment is but a symptom of a legal doctrine – an idea – that has worked to trivialize the American municipality, for well over a century.

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