A press release received on Monday:
Ohio Communities Launch Statewide Network, Sign Columbus Declaration and Seat Board of Directors
Goal: Local Community Self-Governing Rights through Constitutional Change
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
(Columbus, OH. November 18, 2013) – On November 16, community members from eleven Ohio Counties gathered in Columbus, OH to launch the Ohio Community Rights Network (OHCRN).
Attendees at the meeting finalized and signed The Columbus Declaration, 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:
the political, legal and economic systems of the United States and the State of Ohio allow a privileged minority to impose policy and governing decisions upon the people living in incorporated and unincorporated communities of Ohio and that these policies and decisions violate the rights and threaten the very survival of people and ecosystems.
The creation of the OHCRN comes out of successful and ongoing campaigns in many Ohio communities to secure Community Rights and protections from the harms of fracking, drilling and injection wells throughout the state.
Once the group finalized the language of the Declaration, they voted on seating the Board of Directors. The initial 10 member board will work together to create by-laws and the formation of County Chapters throughout the state’s 88 Counties with the goal of calling for a state-wide constitutional convention to guarantee that the people in every City, Village and Township of Ohio have the ability to protect the health, safety, welfare and fundamental rights of residents, free from state preemption or corporate interference.
Yellow Springs, Mansfield, Broadview Heights and most recently, Oberlin, OH have passed Community Bills of Rights over the past year. Several other communities are also working on campaigns to assert their constitutional right to local self-governance. The OHCRN will be a resource for information and assistance to these community groups. Tish O’Dell, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) Organizer and OHCRN Coordinator, explained, “As a growing number of Ohio communities face threats, not only from drilling, but factory farming, toxic waste disposal and water withdrawals, they are reaching the shared conclusion that corporations, along with our state and federal governments and agencies, have more power to decide what happens in our communities than the people who live there. The OHCRN is a way for them to come together to organize and make structural change to elevate Community Rights over corporate ‘rights.’”
The OHCRN joins Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington as states with Community Rights Networks supported by CELDF. Headquartered in Mercersburg, PA, CELDF 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 that are aided and abetted by state and federal governments.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.