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National Community Rights Network Holds Historic First Meeting

CONTACT: Cliff Willmeng,, 303-478-6613



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.

Lane County Clerk and Judge Act As Gatekeepers of People’s Right to the Initiative Process


Contact information:
Rob Dickinson – (541) 543-5735
Ann Kneeland, Esq. – (541) 514-9720
Support Local Food Rights
Phone: (541) 272-6234


On October 6, Lane County Circuit Court Judge Charles Carlson issued a decision upholding County Clerk Cheryl Betschart’s determination that the Local Food System Ordinance of Lane County failed to meet pre-election requirements. The decision is a victory for the corporations that profit from GMO agriculture in Lane County and for GMO farmer John Reerslev, who intervened in the matter. It is a setback for local farmers, food-related businesses and residents alike who are personally and economically invested in local agricultural products – both organic and conventional. However, initiative supporters are undeterred; they are already planning next steps for their efforts to protect the Lane County local food system.


Oregon Communities Launch Statewide Network for Community Rights

September 16th, 2013

Oregon Community Rights Network  

Oregon Communities Launch Statewide Network
for Community Rights 

“The corporate state is not science fiction. Corporate agribusiness is taking over what, how, and who grows food in my community. It has become obvious that the government isn’t going to lift a finger to stop them. It’s clear that the people, in the places where we live, must break the chokehold of a system of law favoring corporations to one that recognizes community rights.” – Dana Allen of Corvallis, Oregon

September 16, 2013
CONTACT: Kai Huschke

On September 12th, community members from eight Oregon counties gathered in Corvallis, Oregon, to launch the Oregon Community Rights Network (ORCRN).

Attendees of the Oregon Community Rights Summit released the Corvallis Declaration of Community Rights, calling upon communities across the state to join together in a movement to elevate the rights of people, their communities, and nature above the claimed rights of corporations.  This comes with an understanding, as stated in the Declaration, that:

We the people recognize that our health, safety, welfare, and survival of our local businesses, farms, ecosystems, and neighborhoods depend on restructuring the current system of governance, because it favors corporations over community-based, democratic decision-making …

The formation of the Oregon Community Rights Network comes out of ongoing and emerging community rights campaigns in eight counties in Western Oregon.

The Network is helping expand community rights organizing to communities across Oregon.  Kai Huschke of the Community Environment Legal Defense Fund – an  organization working with communities across the country to advance community rights and bring communities together to form state “community rights networks” – explained, “As a growing number of communities face threats including pesticides, GMOs, coal trains, and corporate water withdrawal, they are reaching the shared conclusion that corporations, along with our state and federal government, have more power to decide what happens in our communities than the people who live there.  They are now coming together through the Oregon Community Rights Network to organize for local self-governance to elevate community rights over corporate rights.”

The Oregon Community Rights Network joins Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Washington as states with community rights networks supported by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.  CELDF, headquartered in Mercersburg, PA, has been working with people and communities across the United States and internationally since 1995 to assert fundamental rights to democratic local self-governance, recognize nature’s rights, and end destructive corporate actions aided and abetted by state and federal governments.