Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Community Bill of Rights

A Community Bill of Rights
by Ben Price, projects director, CELDF
29 March 2011

As projects director for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), I hear from people every day, asking for help to protect their right to live in self-governing communities instead of municipal resource colonies handed over to powerful corporations by way of government “permits” and licenses. Government representatives and local attorneys repeatedly tell them that they can do nothing to stop unwanted corporate projects from destroying their communities and quality of life. “The law is clear,” they are told. “The corporations have a right, and you have no authority to stop them.”

Whether it is a proposed “big box store,” a land-fill, a coal-fired incinerator, the siphoning of a local aquifer by a water bottling operation, gas drilling or coal mining, those directly affected believe they must be the ones to decide if a state-chartered corporation will be permitted to inflict harm on them in order to create profit for a few. They say they have a right to self-determination and consent of the governed.  They say the state has no authority to license the violation of their rights.....continued......