Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Mexico Coalition for Community rights Declaration

The New Mexico Coalition for Community rights Declaration
We, the undersigned residents of New Mexico, the people of sovereign and tribal Nations, and the communities in which we live, hereby declare the following:
Whereas, our communities are under siege from oil and gas, agribusiness, energy, and other corporations;
Whereas, our communities are under siege from a structure of law that has bestowed greater rights on those corporations than on the communities in which they operate, and it is that system of law that enables the corporations to do what they do;
Whereas, we recognize that such a system— which grants a corporate few the legal authority to override our community majorities— constitutes tyranny and usurpation, we are therefore duty bound to oppose such tyranny and usurpation;
Whereas, we recognize that economic and environmental sustainability have been rendered illegal under this system of law, that nature is treated as property and as having no rights, and that this system is not democratic;
Whereas, given the control by those corporations over our elected representatives, we have given up hope that either our state government or the federal government will help protect us from these corporations;
Whereas, we declare that if democracy means “majority rule” and “consent of the governed,” that a democracy does not exist in our communities or in the State of New Mexico, and that we must now create democracy in our municipalities and within the State; and
Whereas, we now call on communities across the State of New Mexico to do the following:
·      Adopt local laws that recognize community rights for New Mexico residents and municipalities, including legal rights for the natural environment;
·      Include in those local laws direct challenges to the legal doctrines that currently mandate that corporations have greater rights than residents of our communities;
·      Join together with other communities across the State to create a statewide movement focused on rewriting the State Constitution to recognize a right to local self-government which eliminates these legal doctrines at the State level, to protect the local laws adopted within our municipalities; and
·      Join together with other statewide movements to rewrite the federal Constitution to elevate the rights of people and communities above the claimed rights of corporations.
Andrew Feldman, Las Vegas (6/2/2012)
Kathleen Dudley, Ocate (6/2/2012)
Don Hamilton, Ocate (6/2/2012)
Miguel Pacheco, Las Vegas (6/2/2012)
Lee Einer, Las Vegas (6/2/2012)
Natalie Thomas, Laguna Pueblo (6/2/2012)
Judith Lawson, Santa Fe (6/2/2012)

New Mexico Communities Launch Statewide Coalition to Advocate for Community Rights

New Mexico Coalition for Community Rights
PO Box 67, Ocate, New Mexico

 “I will be working with the New Mexico Coalition for Community Rights to inform other municipal and county governments about how we can make changes in our own communities and then take this further to the state and, eventually the federal levels. The important point here is we the people have a right to determine what happens in our communities and no one else. However, we have to work around and eventually change the current legal framework that is set up to benefit the corporations. This will be a long and hard road, but we have to start now."                    Andrew Feldman, sponsor of the new Las Vegas Community Rights Ordinance and former Las Vegas, NM City Councilman.
June 18, 2012
CONTACT: Kathleen Dudley
 575 666 2529

info@nmccr.org    www.nmccr.org

(Monday, June 18th, 2012- New Mexico) This month, citizens from several New Mexico communities formally launched the New Mexico Coalition for Community Rights (NMCCR)

The creation of the New Mexico Coalition follows on the heels of the adoption by the City Council of Las Vegas, New Mexico of the first Community Rights Ordinance in the State. That ordinance creates a Community Bill of Rights and bans natural gas fracking within the municipality. The Coalition will work to support the residents of Las Vegas, New Mexico to enforce their ordinance, and will work to replicate the ordinances across the State of New Mexico. The Coalition will also host trainings across the State for those communities who want to follow the lead of Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Kathleen Dudley, one of the newly elected Directors of the Coalition, explained that “it has become clear that it is time for this Coalition to build a statewide organizing effort to link the many communities who are fighting for their right to local self-governance in the face of corporate projects ranging from large water withdrawals, hardrock mining, genetically modified crops, factory farms, low altitude military flyovers, water, air and soil pollution by nuclear waste, and oil and gas drilling.”

The Community Rights Ordinances make it unlawful  “for any corporation, or any director, officer, owner, or manager of a corporation, to harm citizens’ inalienable rights to clean water, air, health and safety of the residents.

The New Mexico Coalition for Community Rights is located in New Mexico and works in conjunction with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to help communities assert their fundamental rights to democratic local self-governance in order to develop and protect our sustainable future.

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, located in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, has been working with people in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States and the world since 1995 to assert our fundamental rights to democratic local self-governance, and to enact laws which end destructive and rights-denying corporate action aided and abetted by state and federal governments.

Deadly chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing revealed
Jerry Nelson
May 31, 2012

As hundreds of natural gas deposits have been found in Idaho a drilling boom has started which is starting to spread over 32 states.

The main method for extracting the natural gas is known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking".  Fracking has been called safe since a 2004 study by EPA said it posed to risk to drinking water.

The George W. Bush administration -- with the collusion of congress -- used the 2004 EPA study to push through and justify legislation of what is called the "Halliburton loophole".  This loophole EXEMPTS fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act.  Legislation also exempted fracking from the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts....continued.....

Friday, May 25, 2012

Company hopes to move forward with gas drilling; Shell plans to come north with testing in northeast N.M.--Raton Range

For the 2nd time in a month and a half, the Raton Range has advertised for Royal Dutch Shell with an article about their hopes to drill in North Eastern New Mexico.  Asking for one size fits all from county to county, industry is doing their best to convince local county governments with fancy dinners and stories of untold riches.  Here is industry's 2nd advertisment by Todd Wildermuth, Editor of the Raton Range.  Raton boasts the Raton Basin, already becoming dewatered according to OGAP director in a statement in 2009.  Google earth this area to see the industrialization of this area and compare to San Juan County near Farmington.  Both areas have fallen victim to the oil industry as the land has become riddled with roads, well pads and the air and water stink with fumes from drilling and hyrdaulic fracturing.  Today they want the Las Vegas Basin.  

May 22, 2012
Shell Oil Company hopes to move ahead soon with one or more new test wells in northeast New Mexico that could eventually lead the company to establish natural gas drilling operations throughout this part of the state, including Colfax County.

A Shell official this month told the Colfax County commission that the company wants to be ready with an adequate supply of natural gas when demand — and prices — for the natural resource rise. Although prices are at a 10-year low, the markets for natural gas are “always evolving,” according to Mike Smith, an enterprise service management adviser for Shell.

Eight counties in northeast New Mexico are referred to by industry officials as the Penn Play, an area that has gained attention to a degree that prompted a few industry representatives to make a presentation at January’s New Mexico Association of Counties Conference. One of the key points made during the presentation was that the companies would want a “uniform regulatory climate” across the multiple counties where they believe a large pool of natural gas may sit among the rock layers some 7,000 to 13,000 feet below the surface.....continued.....


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mora County's 1st Oil and Gas Meeting, 2008

Diane Rehm Show--Fracking


The State of Vermont Bans Fracking

Governor Shumlin said the increased amounts of natural gas obtainable through hydraulic fracturing were not worth the risk to drinking water supplies.

    In the coming generation or two, “drinking water will be more valuable than oil or natural gas,” Shumlin said.

    “Human beings survived for thousands and thousands of years without oil and without natural gas,” he said. “We have never known humanity or life on this plant to survive without clean water.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Vermont Passes First Statewide Fracking Ban

 The State of Vermont's elected officials expressed their courage, moral compass, and leadership on behalf of the citizen's of Vermont through their vote to ban fracking!

 They upheld citizen's rights to clean water, air, land, health, safety, and the right to flourish within their own communities.  These birth rights are held sacred by these impressive lawmakers.

  08 May 2012
Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--May 8, 2012.  On May 4, the Vermont House of Representatives voted 103-36 to give final passage to legislation that will make Vermont the first state in the nation to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. Fracking is a method of extracting natural gas from deep in the ground by injecting a mixture of water, sand and toxic chemicals —including biocides— under high pressure into dense rock formations such as shale, in order to crack the rock and release the gas.

“The Vermont Legislature deserves tremendous praise for having the courage to stand up to all of the lobbying, the full page ads, and the legal threats of the oil and gas industry,” said Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. “This is a shot that will be heard, if not around the world then at least around the country.”

According to a minority staff report released last year by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, more than 650 commonly used fracking products contain chemicals that are “known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, or listed as hazardous air pollutants.” In its report, The Case for a Ban on Gas Fracking, Food and Water Watch summarizes data by The Endocrine Disruption Exchange showing that 25 percent of fracking chemicals could cause cancer, 37 percent could disrupt the endocrine system, 40 to 50 percent could affect the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems, and more than 75 percent could affect the sensory organs and respiratory system, likely causing problems such as skin and eye irritation and flu-like symptoms. . . continued . . .

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Four Dollars for a Gallon of Water? The Dream of Monsanto and Other Corporations Wanting to Privatize Water

The minera leases  filed at the Mora County Clerk's office show that not only the oil and gas was leased.  They show with but one or two exceptions, the landowners unknowingly or knowingly leased their water resources to SWEPI (Shell Western Exploratory Production Inc).  This means they have leased their water without restriction.

When the water is either depleted or contaminated or both, and bottled water costs $4 per gallon, will the $1 per acre or $25 per acre lease be the "wealth" the landowners counted upon?

Some people have been seeing this leasing as a "water grab" in the Las Vegas basin....and they could be correct in their speculation.  Pickens, Monsanto, Royal Dutch Shell and Nestle seem to think clean drinking water is a good investment.


Four dollars for a gallon of gas is ridiculous enough, but $4 for a gallon of water could someday became a reality, that is if oil tycoons like T. Boone Pickens and water bottling companies have their way. Privatization of water in which companies control the public's water sources and free water is a thing of the past appears to be what Pickens and corporations such as Monsanto, Royal Dutch Shell, and Nestle are banking on to increase their vast fortunes.

Companies, brokers and billionaires are buying up groundwater rights and aquifers. Groundwater is necessary for agriculture and more water is needed to meet a growing demand for food. Many countries have already over-pumped their groundwater to feed increasing local populations. Combine this with climate changes and an ever-increasing strain on water resources due to a rapidly growing world population and you have got a future where water is called "blue gold" because of its scarcity and high cost.

Vermont-- Fracking Ban Passes Senate 27-1

April 18, 2012
Statement of Paul Burns, Executive Director of VPIRG on Passage of H.464, the Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing in Vermont
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The 27-1 vote of the Vermont Senate in favor of a ban on fracking for natural gas in the state is an important statement about the legislature’s commitment to clean energy, and its intention to protect public health and natural resources from the dangers of this practice.
This vote brings Vermont one step closer to becoming the first state in the nation to ban the dirty and dangerous practice of fracking. This is exactly the kind of leadership that is needed on this issue.
Fracking is wreaking havoc in nearby states. This bill sends a clear message to the oil and gas industry that we value clean water too much to allow fracking in Vermont....continued.....

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Fracking Frenzy's Impact on Women

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has generated widespread media attention this year. The process, which injects water and chemicals into the ground to release "natural" gas and oil from shale bedrock, has been shown to contribute signficantly to air and water pollution and has even been linked to earthquakes. But little has been reported on the ways in which fracking may have unique impacts on women. Chemicals used in fracking have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive health problems and there have been reports of rises in crimes against women in some fracking "boom" towns, which have attracted itinerant workers with few ties to the community....continued....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Unicopia Green Radio with Faren Dancer and Las Vegas City Councilman, Andrew Feldman & Mora Democracy School Committee secretary, Kathleen Dudley speak on Community Rights

A Dubious Ordinance

April 1, 2o12
As the Las Vegas City Council moves closer to passing proposed Ordinance 12-06, titled the Las Vegas Community Water Rights and Local Self Government Ordinance, let’s take a closer look at it. In our opinion, it’s a statement more than a law.

We seriously doubt it would hold up in court. It imposes an outright ban on all oil-and-gas drilling in Las Vegas and its watershed, which is probably a violation of constitutionally protected individual property rights. The measure would also challenge the New Mexico and U.S. constitutions, and preemptive law, in other ways that won’t likely hold up in court....continued.....

Las Vegas, NM, Passes Ban on Driling--

Last night, Las Vegas, New Mexico became the first municipality in the Southwest to enact a local bill of rights banning all forms of oil and natural gas drilling in the city and its watershed.  KUNM’s Sidsel Overgaard was there, and has this report.
 Listen to the recorded interview with Miguel Pacheco, Andrew Feldman and David Bacon
Las Vegas, N.M., Endorses Community Rights,
  March 21, 2012

The first day of spring was an auspicious day for the Las Vegas City Council to make history. It was a victory for the people and for democracy. The united voice of the citizens and actions taken by the council showed that concerned, involved people make a difference—that our elected officials who support their oath of office to protect the health, welfare and safety of the citizens, support Democracy. 

While the final vote on the Las Vegas Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance was still pending, the outcome of the March meeting held great possibilities for a protective Community Rights Ordinance as drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, CELDF, and sponsored by Councilman Andrew Feldman.

The vote to pass the Ordinance did not take place during the March meeting, as expected.
The “action item” to vote on the Ordinance was not on the agenda, at the counsel of the city attorney, David Romero. There was contention from the council and citizens towards the mayor and city attorney over this. As Councilman Feldman pointed out, last month’s unanimous vote by the council was specifically to advertise in order to bring this ordinance to a vote at the March meeting...continued...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thomas Linzey, CELDF, speaks on Corporate Rights

Las Vegas New Mexico City Council Votes and Passes the Community Rights Banning Corporations from Fracking for Shale Gas--1st in the West!

April 4, 2012
Las Vegas, New Mexico

Las Vegas, New Mexico Council Votes to Pass the Community Bill of Rights Banning Corporations from Fracking for Shale Gas

“Along with the City of Pittsburgh, this is how we change federal law, folks.  It starts at the bottom.  We do this, and other cities do it. It starts a ball rolling that hopefully will not stop.  We change our laws in this great country that protect us instead of protecting corporations."    --- Andrew Feldman, sponsor of "Las Vegas Community Water Rights and Self-Government Ordinance"

Monday night the City of Las Vegas, New Mexico, City Council voted on a community Bill of Rights.  It is known as the "Las Vegas Community Protective Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance."  This Ordinance establishes a new system of law--giving rights to citizens and nature.

The City Council voted 3-1 in favour of the Ordinance.  In favour:  Councilman Feldman, Councilwoman Tonita Gurule Giron and Councilman Romero.   Opposed:  Newly elected Councilman Vince Howell.

This community rights ordinance is the first rights-based ordinance to pass in the southwest.  It takes courage to be the first on the block, but more importantly, it takes a strong moral compass to stand up for the rights of the citizens when the pressure to support the status quo is dauntingly powerful.

Councilman Andrew Feldman sponsored the Ordinance, advocating for the rights that citizens and ecosystems thrive in the City of Las Vegas, New Mexico, as they would under this community rights ordinance. He is committed to working with other New Mexico communities to help them pass community rights ordinances.

In the words of Councilwoman Tonita Gurule Giron, after the vote, "It was the right thing to do."
Councilwoman Gurule Giron is running in the City of Las Vegas mayoral race.  The voting date is April 17th, 2012.

At the request of a committee of Las Vegas citizens, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, CELDF, known for their work with communities around the world, helped them draft a rights-based ordinance which they then presented to Councilman Feldman for his support.

Today the community of Las Vegas will stand along side with over 140 communities across the United States who exert their rights to local self-government, local sustainability, and a Bill of Rights that protect their communities and nature from corporate threats.  And perhaps most importantly, establish Democracy within their communities for the first time in their lifetimes.

Anit-Fracking Law Adopted--Las Vegas Optic

Las Vegas,. New Mexico
April 2nd 2012

Setting aside the grave concerns raised by its legal counsel and its insurer, the Las Vegas City Council voted 3-1 on Monday to approve a community bill of rights ordinance, becoming the first municipality in the state to do so....

The ordinance seeks to elevate the civil rights of the community and of its natural resources while limiting the rights currently enjoyed by corporations. A standing-room-only crowd was on hand at the council chambers to witness the vote, and most of them applauded when the measure passed. “This is a historic moment for Vegas, and it may face legal challenges but that’s how you start changing federal law,” [Councilperson] Feldman said after the meeting. “I feel really passionately that our rights are being trampled at the expense of corporations for profit and that the ... citizens in this country need to start taking back their rights. This is where it starts, in a grassroots effort.”...continued.....

By Martin Salazar

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction....continued....

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

EPA Sees Risks to Water, Workers in New York Fracking Rules

In the east the major problem stems from past disposal of fracking water to waste treatment plants that can't and couldn't remove many of the pollutants, not least of which are radionuclides, though deep well injection has also become a problem more recently as dumping into eastern river systems was stopped.  Here, it's deep-sixing water we don't have and will need for long-term sustainability into wells without knowing the range or concentration of many pollutants and hoping these deep storage reservoirs never leak or contribute to seismic activity.   
By Joaquin Sapien
January 14 2012

New York's emerging plan to regulate natural gas drilling in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale needs to go further to safeguard drinking water, environmentally sensitive areas and gas industry workers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has informed state officials.

The EPA's comments, in a series of letters this week to the state's Department of Environmental Conservation, are significant because they suggest the agency will be watching closely as states in the Northeast and Midwest embrace new drilling technologies to tap vast reserves of shale gas.

New York is in the forefront of the shale gas boom and has been working on regulations for more than three years. Judith Enck, the EPA regional administrator who issued the agency comments, noted that New York "will help set the pace for improved safeguards across the country.".....continued.....

Friday, March 9, 2012

Acts of Love

Acts of Love 
Chris Hedges
Feb 19, 2012

Love, the deepest human commitment, the force that defies empirical examination and yet is the defining and most glorious element in human life, the love between two people, between children and parents, between friends, between partners, reminds us of why we have been created for our brief sojourns on the planet. Those who cannot love—and I have seen these deformed human beings in the wars and conflicts I covered—are spiritually and emotionally dead. They affirm themselves through destruction, first of others and then, finally, of themselves. Those incapable of love never live.

“Hell,” Dostoevsky wrote, “is the inability to love.”

There are few sanctuaries in war. Couples in love provide one......Love kept them grounded. These couples were not able to halt the destruction and violence around them. They were powerless. They could and often did themselves become victims. But it was with them, seated in a concrete hovel in a refugee camp in Gaza or around a wood stove on a winter night in the hills outside Sarajevo, that I found sanity and peace, that I was reminded of what it means to be human.

...Happiness, however, withers if there is no meaning....But to live only for meaning—indifferent to all happiness—makes us fanatic, self-righteous and cold. It leaves us cut off from our own humanity and the humanity of others. We must hope for grace, for our lives to be sustained by moments of meaning and happiness, both equally worthy of human communion. And it is this grace, this love, which in our darkest moments allows us to endure.

....The truth—that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart. The salvation of man is through love and in love.” 

.....“We love our enemy when we love his or her ultimate meaning,” professor Adams told us. “We may have to struggle against what the enemy stands for; we may not feel a personal affinity or passion for him. Yet we are commanded for this person’s sake and for our own and for the sake of the destiny of creation, to love that which should unite us.”--------  (for the complete article, click on the title):

Bowing to Our Adversaries as per Joanna Macy: As we go forth for the healing of our world, there are forces and institutions which we will and must challenge. The men and women who serve these structures will appear as our opponents. Here is a formal group practice which helps to free us from fear and illwill toward such persons, and to ground us in an all-embracing compassion.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bill McKibben, Why the Energy-Industrial Elite Has It In for the Planet

February 7, 2012
The giant energy companies are making so much money right now that they can’t stop gorging themselves. ExxonMobil, year after year, pulls in more money than any company in history. Chevron’s not far behind. Everyone in the business is swimming in money.

Still, they could theoretically invest all that cash in new clean technology or research and development for the same. As it happens, though, they’ve got a deeper problem, one that’s become clear only in the last few years. Put briefly: their value is largely based on fossil-fuel reserves that won’t be burned if we ever take global warming seriously.

When I talked about a carbon bubble at the beginning of this essay, this is what I meant. Here are some of the relevant numbers, courtesy of the Capital Institute: we’re already seeing widespread climate disruption, but if we want to avoid utter, civilization-shaking disaster, many scientists have pointed to a two-degree rise in global temperatures as the most we could possibly deal with....continued......

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mari Margil, CELDF Rights of Nature PART III

Mari Margil, CELDF Nature's Rights Part II

Mari Magil, CELDF Rights of Nature Part I

The associate director of the Community Environmental Defense Fund (CELDF) describes the inspiring, groundbreaking work CELDF and she  are doing to recognize Rights of Nature in law in both the U.S. and Ecuador, which recently became the worlds first nation to enshrine such rights in its constitution.

RADIO INTERVIEW: "Our Times:" Program host Craig Barnes interview CELDF's Executive Director Thomas Linzey on KSFR 101.1 FM Santa Fe Public Radio

Rights of Nature, people's inalienable rights, democracy, local sustainability and local self-government--listen to Craig Barnes, civil rights attorney, interview Thomas Linzey, CELDF, a constitutional attorney on issues about rights and democracy in today's structure of law.

Monday, February 6, 2012

RADIO INTERVIEW: Jessica Ernst on Alberta water contamination

Listen to Jessica Ernst talk about hydraulic fracturing in Alberta--the water, air, land contamination, and the severing of communities through industry's tactics.  Her thoughts on how this industry is maneuvering to break apart the European Union by drilling in Poland.

Josh Fox, director of Gasland documentary, handcuffed

Fox was led out in handcuffs by the Capitol police shortly after 10 a.m., before the hearing could be gaveled into order. The "Gasland" director was attempting to film the hearing looking into EPA's investigation of potential water contamination from natural gas drilling in Pavillion, Wyo.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/72298.html#ixzz1le2Bq8dG

RADIO INTERVIEW: Thomas Linzey w/ public radio KFUN

CELDF's work to help communities organize against corporate threats is outlined in this recent radio interview with KFUN, Public radio, NM.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oil’s new world order

Daniel Yergin
October 28, 2011

For more than five decades, the world’s oil map has centered on the Middle East. No matter what new energy resources were discovered and developed elsewhere, virtually all forecasts indicated that U.S. reliance on Mideast oil supplies was destined to grow. This seemingly irreversible reality has shaped not only U.S. energy policy and economic policy, but also geopolitics and the entire global economy.

But today, what appeared irreversible is being reversed. The outline of a new world oil map is emerging, and it is centered not on the Middle East but on the Western Hemisphere. The new energy axis runs from Alberta, Canada, down through North Dakota and South Texas, past a major new discovery off the coast of French Guyana to huge offshore oil deposits found near Brazil....continued....

Test-case lawsuit on N.Y. town's drilling ban heads to court

"The People have a right to use the government closest to us –our municipalities – because, until the state and federal governments cease and desist from licensing and permitting state chartered corporations to deprive our unalienable rights in communities across America, we are on our own.

The People have unalienable rights. The state has no authority to issue permits to state chartered corporations that make it legal for them to violate the rights of the people.

This idea that people have rights and that the state has no authority to license violation of those rights, is the core principle, the underlying premise, for mounting a new civil rights movement for the legal recognition and protection of community rights.

••  Actions to adopt a Community Rights Protective Water Rights Ordinance that bans natural gas drilling-fracking, by the City of Pittsburgh City Council:  "Members of the city council recognized that when the state permits the drilling to occur, the state isn’t going to provide municipalities with the authority to prevent it. Accordingly, the council decided to create is own local structure of law, which directly challenges the authority of both the state – and the natural gas corporations empowered by the state – to drill within the city."
            Ben Price, CELDF

Colin Sullivan
November 3, 2011

 Attorneys in an upstate New York town revealed their legal strategy today for blunting a lawsuit from Anschutz Exploration Corp. that seeks to overturn a local ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

 The lawsuit challenges an attempt by the town of Dryden to determine for itself whether fracking can occur there. In August, the town's board changed its zoning laws to keep Anschutz and other companies out, voting to deny fracking operations within its borders.

 But the Colorado-based Anschutz drilling arm, owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz, shot back with a lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court, Tompkins County, that says only the state can regulate gas drilling.

 Lawyers for Anschutz claim the zoning ban is pre-empted by New York's Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law. They argue that Dryden's ban could set the stage in New York or in other states for a hodgepodge of regulations that would keep drilling in some communities but out of others.

 Dryden's counterargument is that it has the right to pass land-use regulations that say nothing directly about the technical side of natural gas drilling or exploration. Attorneys close to the case said Dryden has the right to decide for itself whether it wants heavy industrialization within its borders because of the direct impact on land use.

 "The rights of towns to zone out extractive mining is already very well-established in New York law," said Deborah Goldberg, an attorney with Earthjustice, which has filed briefs in the case but has so far been denied amicus, or "friend of the court," status.

 The attorneys and local activists held a press conference today in advance of a court hearing tomorrow on the merits of the lawsuit. The town has moved to dismiss the suit, claiming its local zoning rules are not pre-empted by the state.

 One way or another, Goldberg said she expects this case to make its way up the ladder in New York's judicial system.

 "Everyone knows this is going to go up on appeal no matter which way it comes out," she said.

 An attorney representing Anschutz, Thomas West of the West Law Firm in Albany, agreed that the case would be appealed regardless of the initial decision, establishing a precedent for local regulation of fracking. As for Dryden's legal case, he was dismissive.

 "I think the argument is extremely weak," he said, arguing that there is a clear difference in New York law between how mining and reclamation are zoned locally and how oil and gas drilling are regulated by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
 West said oil and gas laws "don't have the same carve-outs" as mining and reclamation. Municipalities can only regulate roads and local taxation when it comes to oil and gas drilling, he said.

 He also sees a broader dynamic in play that may emerge as the case proceeds. A given landowner has the right to lease his land for drilling, so if a town like Dryden can block such activity, to West, that constitutes a taking of the land.

 "If municipalities are successful in banning drilling, the next step would be for the landowners to sue the municipalities for taking," he said. "You've just had your property taken without just compensation."

 Locals see it differently. Martin Hatch, a volunteer on Dryden's local planning board, cast the town's position in a political light, stealing a page from Occupy Wall Street's anti-corporate credo. He said any group of citizens should have the right to block "an out-of-town billionaire swooping in and telling us what we can or can't do."

 "Nobody needs to tell anyone that people are tired of businesses around this country calling the shots," he said.


Investigative Research

This research explores the current capabilities of the US military to use electromagnetic (EMF) devices to harass, intimidate, and kill individuals and the continuing possibilities of violations of human rights by the testing and deployment of these weapons. To establish historical precedent in the US for such acts, we document long-term human rights and freedom of thought violations by US military/intelligence organizations. Additionally, we explore contemporary evidence of on-going government research in EMF weapons technologies and examine the potentialities of continuing human rights abuses.....continued......

CELDF Community Rights Ordinance: Drilling ban to appear on Borough ballot

 Lucy Bryan Green
October 31st, 2011

When residents of the State College Borough take to the polls on Nov. 8, they will join several other Pennsylvania communities, including Warren and Peters Township, in casting ballots that have the potential to make history and spark controversy.

The citizens of these towns will, for the first time ever, issue popular votes on amendments to their town charters that include environmental bills of rights and bans on natural gas drilling.

These referendums are the fruit of a growing grassroots movement in which communities are asserting their right to self-government, in particular, the right to protect their natural resources. But the possibility that these measures violate Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act has drawn opposition from drilling companies, state officials and local politicians.....continued......

Nature Is the 99%, Too Someone Got Rich and Someone Got Sick

Chip Ward
 October 27, 2011

 Occupy Earth: What if rising sea levels are yet another measure of inequality? What if the degradation of our planet’s life-support systems -- its atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere -- goes hand in hand with the accumulation of wealth, power, and control by that corrupt and greedy 1% we are hearing about from Zuccotti Park?  What if the assault on America’s middle class and the assault on the environment are one and the same?

 Money Rules: It’s not hard for me to understand how environmental quality and economic inequality came to be joined at the hip.  In all my years as a grassroots organizer dealing with the tragic impact of degraded environments on public health, it was always the same: someone got rich and someone got sick....continued.....

Oil Boomtowns See Rise In Drunken Driving And Bar Fights, Threatening To Overwhelm Law Enforcement

"We definitely do drink a lot. I ain't going to lie," said Jordon Bourque, a 23-year-old pipe inspector from Lafayette, La., who was drinking beer at a bar in the Williamsport, Pa., area one recent night.

In the North Dakota boomtown of Williston, some bars have become rough, and the number of domestic-disturbance calls and arrests for such crimes as DUI, assault and theft in just the first half of 2011 was twice the total for all of 2010, said Busching, the sheriff.

Stories abound about friction between locals and out-of-towners, whether road rage incidents or fights over women.

Renee Daly, 27, of Montrose, Pa., said she knows of at least three marriages that ended when local women abandoned their husbands for gas-field workers.

What have we heard from ranchers Gilbert Armenta and Chris Velasquez from San Juan County about increased crime: drunkenness, drug use, prostitution, and their community's needs for larger courthouses and increased law enforcement over the past 40-50 years since drilling for oil and gas overtook their agricultural county?

Appears the size of the Mora County Courthouse might be "just right," at least for the next 10 years, should the commission pass a regulatory oil and gas ordinance which permits drilling to take place.


TOWANDA, Pa. -- In a modern-day echo of the raucous Old West, small towns enjoying a boom in oil and gas drilling are seeing a sharp increase in drunken driving, bar fights and other hell-raising, blamed largely on an influx of young men who find themselves with lots of money in their pockets and nothing to do after they get off work.

Authorities in Pennsylvania and other states are quick to point out that the vast majority of workers streaming in are law-abiding. But they also say the drilling industry has brought with it a hard-working, hard-drinking, rough-and-tumble element that, in some places, threatens to overwhelm law enforcement.

Some police departments are trying to hire more officers but are hard-pressed to compete with the industry for applicants...continued.......

WildEarth Guardians object to water-rights transfer: Group claims move will hurt existing downstream water rights, river ecosystem

"In the middle Rio Grande, including Socorro, water-right prices range from $12,000 to $15,000 an acre-foot.

The most expensive water rights are near water-strapped Las Vegas, N.M. An acre-foot there is going for $20,000 to $30,000, Turner [Albuquerque water broker Bill Turner] said."

At prices in this range, it will be corporations and state and federal governments who will be able to afford such prices. These water transfers will not be by The People. This is the beginning for New Mexico, folks. Time to act in solidarity.

Staci Matlock
October 26, 2011

An environmental group is protesting a water-rights transfer from a Socorro farm to the city of Santa Fe.

WildEarth Guardians is protesting an application to transfer 163 acre-feet of water owned by Vannetta Perry of Socorro and to stop irrigating 54 acres of land. Irrigation water rights are valuable to cities and housing developments that need the rights to use water within the Rio Grande basin.

When the rights are transferred, the irrigated farmlands are fallowed.

The city is continuing to purchase water rights to offset the impacts on the Rio Grande of past groundwater pumping at the municipality's Buckman well field near the river...continued.....

KUNM Interview with Thomas Linzey, CELDF

Thomas Linzey is the senior legal counsel for the Community Legal Defense Fund, CELDF, He is speaking about corporate Constitutional "rights" and the inalienable rights of people and nature.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Faren Dancer, Unicopia Green Radio, interviews Thomas Linzey, CELDF

Listen to the interview with Thomas Linzey, senior legal counsel for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, CELDF,  on corporate Constitutional "rights" and community self-government            www.celdf.org

Faren Dancer, Unicopia Green Radio:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

High water use, contamination top list of shale gas concerns: Memo

"There is potential for water contamination from the use and disposal of drilling muds and fracturing fluids," Boothe wrote in the memo to Kent, dated March 8, 2011. "There is also a risk of natural gas or saltwater from the formation leaking into surface water, water wells or water aquifers.

"Other environmental impacts include but are not necessarily limited to air emissions (greenhouse gases and air pollutants), habitat fragmentation, and the increased traffic needed to transport water, chemicals, and equipment for shale gas production," Boothe wrote. "Further work is needed to assess the risks associated with shale gas development in Canada, including quantity of water used, surface and groundwater contamination, and emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants from shale gas facilities.

Kent announced in September that the government had launched two separate scientific reviews to examine the impacts of shale gas exploration. One review is being conducted by department officials, while the other will be conducted by the Council of Canadian Academies, a not-for-profit agency that provides science-based studies."

Canada, a socialistic country, with a universal health care system, just might concern themselves with rising health care costs due to drilling, and take a strong stand regarding air and water contamination such as they did on indoor air quality concerns in the 1990s.

OCTOBER 24, 2011

OTTAWA --- Water use and contamination are at the top of the list of environmental concerns surrounding shale gas exploration in Canada, Environment Minister Peter Kent was told earlier this year in an internal memorandum released on Monday.

The advice, drafted by Environment Canada's top bureaucrat and deputy minister, Paul Boothe, acknowledged that the emerging industry is considered a "game changer" in the energy market, but it also noted that most sites are using millions of litres of water and hundreds of thousands of litres of unidentified chemicals that are injected in the ground at high pressure to extract natural gas from shale rock formations.

"There is potential for water contamination from the use and disposal of drilling muds and fracturing fluids," Boothe wrote in the memo to Kent, dated March 8, 2011. "There is also a risk of natural gas or saltwater from the formation leaking into surface water, water wells or water aquifers."

Several jurisdictions in North America, including Quebec and New York, have slowed down development to investigate the impacts of unconventional oil and gas exploration. Environment Canada also launched its own reviews this year, coinciding with the memo that was sent to Kent and released to Postmedia News through access to information legislation....continued......

Small-town politics take the national stage as Range challenges local drilling ordinance

"Range Resources, western Pennsylvania's dominant driller, is suing the township of South Fayette for an [regulatory] ordinance approved last November that prohibits surface drilling in the community's neighborhoods, parks, farms and school zones.  That regulation amounts to an illegal ban on natural gas drilling, the company argues....."

A "regulatory" ordinance prohibiting drilling in community neighborhoods is challenged by industry. Would industry sue this community had they passed a "community rights-based ordinance" that prohibits natural gas drilling while protecting the citizens' inalienable rights?  The City of Pittsburgh passed such an ordinance December 2010, and is still protected today while countless "regulatory" bans are being challenged by industry across PA.........

October 24, 2011

An affluent Pittsburgh suburb has become a test case for drilling regulations across the Marcellus Shale region, thrusting small-town politics into the national limelight.

Range Resources, western Pennsylvania's dominant driller, is suing the township of South Fayette for an ordinance approved last November that prohibits surface drilling in the community's neighborhoods, parks, farms and school zones.

That regulation amounts to an illegal ban on natural gas drilling, the company argues, and is holding back development on leases set to expire at a time when the driller says it is short on cash. Range estimates that the township's reserves are worth $1.2 billion. That could bring $180 million in royalties to South Fayette landowners, the company estimates...continued......

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Tainted Water Well, and Concern There May Be More

August 3, 2011

For decades, oil and gas industry executives as well as regulators have maintained that a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that is used for most natural gas wells has never contaminated underground drinking water.

Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil, has said that there are no reported cases of a freshwater aquifer having ever been contaminated from hydraulic fracturing.

The claim is based in part on a simple fact: fracking, in which water and toxic chemicals are injected at high pressure into the ground to break up rocks and release the gas trapped there, occurs thousands of feet below drinking-water aquifers. Because of that distance, the drilling chemicals pose no risk, industry officials have argued.

“There have been over a million wells hydraulically fractured in the history of the industry, and there is not one, not one, reported case of a freshwater aquifer having ever been contaminated from hydraulic fracturing. Not one,” Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil, said last year at a Congressional hearing on drilling....continued...

Drilling in Fast-Growing Areas Ushers in New Era of Tension

"Fort Worth has upward of 2,000 gas wells right in the city itself, with most of that growth within just the last five years. Pittsburgh, facing the prospect of urban drilling, forbade it last year by a vote of the City Council."

Which city would you choose for your family?

There are two options for all communities when drilling is around the corner in your neighborhood:
•  Pass a regulatory ordinance which permits drilling in your community
•  Pass a community rights-based ordinance that includes a bill of rights protecting citizen birth rights to clean water, air, land and health and prohibits industry from harming these inalienable rights

Which would you choose?  Contact your commission and let them know.

Patrick Andrade
October 24, 2011

DENVER — The pattern is clear in the oil and gas business: drilling fields are going into new places. North Dakota, better known for growing wheat, is now booming with rigs. Fort Worth has upward of 2,000 gas wells right in the city itself, with most of that growth within just the last five years. Pittsburgh, facing the prospect of urban drilling, forbade it last year by a vote of the City Council [the council passed a CELDF community rights ordinance protecting citizen's birth rights to clean air, water, land, health and safety, and banned extraction of natural gas & hydraulic fracturing].

But few areas are facing the prospect of drilling’s new frontier more vividly than eastern Colorado, where 80 percent of this state’s population of five million people cluster in a line of cities and suburbs stretching out from Denver, Colorado’s capital and largest city.

A 90 million-year-old oil bed called the Niobrara — estimated to contain two billion barrels, locked in shale that in past drilling eras was considered too costly to extract — laces down from southeast Wyoming and Nebraska. And like a cowboy with Saturday-night pay in his pocket, ready to spend big and have a good time, the energy industry is riding into town to drill for it....continued....

The Fracking Industry's War On The New York Times -- And The Truth

"I [Robert F. Kennedy Jr.] confess to being an early optimist on natural gas. In July of 2009, I wrote a widely circulated op-ed for the Financial Times predicting that newly accessible deposits of natural gas had the potential to rapidly relieve our country of its deadly addiction to Appalachian coal and end forever catastrophically destructive mountaintop removal mining.

The industry's worst actors have successfully battled reasonable regulation, stifled public disclosure while bending compliant government regulators to engineer exceptions to existing environmental rules. Captive agencies and political leaders have obligingly reduced already meager enforcement resources and helped propagate the industry's deceptive economic projections. As a result, public skepticism toward the industry and its government regulators is at a record high. With an army of over 40,000 highly motivated anti-fracking activists in New York alone, popular mistrust of the industry is presenting a daunting impediment to its expansion.

 * The human health impacts of gas extraction on local communities may rival those associated with coal. A new study by Centers for Disease Control finds that breast cancer rates have dropped in every county in Texas, but have increased in the six counties with the heaviest natural gas air emissions.

Gas fracking flacks routinely make extravagant promises about bringing jobs and income to the depressed rural communities. If those jobs and royalties don't come -- the way they have not come for people in Bradford County, PA -- New Yorkers will be justifiably angry, as they wonder why the government and our panel did not protect them when there were so many warning signs"

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Superb investigative journalism by the New York Times has brought the paper under attack by the natural gas industry. That campaign of intimidation and obfuscation has been orchestrated by top shelf players like Exxon and Chesapeake aligned with the industry's worst bottom feeders. This coalition has launched an impressive propaganda effort carried by slick PR firms, industry funded front groups and a predictable cabal of right wing industry toadies from cable TV and talk radio. In pitting itself against public disclosure and reasonable regulation, the natural gas industry is once again proving that it is its own worst enemy.

A Music Youtube that explains "fracking"

New York State Senator Greg Ball (R, C)40th Senate District

“I can tell you right now that the pain that I’ve seen here today, and the pain that I experienced first-hand speaking with families and farmers in Pennsylvania, it will be over my dead body before I allow what happened in Pennsylvania to happen here in New York,” said Senator Ball speaking at a recent hearing on hydrofracking in Katonah, N.Y.

“I have seen first-hand the devastation caused in communities where gas companies were given a free pass,” said Senator Ball who recently toured Pennsylvania towns where hydrofracking is currently taking place. “Fourth generation landowners whose property values sustained 90% devaluation because of contaminated water wells. Farmers whose cattle suffered unexplained and unusually high still birth rates. So I will not roll out the red carpet for companies that are not willing to be held accountable,” added Ball.

August 30th,2011

State Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, is proposing legislation that would set up some rules and guidelines aimed at hydrofracking in New York state. Ball said he witnessed damage to private property during a tour of areas in Pennsylvania where hydrofracking for natural gas is occurring. His legislation is meant to protect property owners.

Rush to Drill for Natural Gas Creates Conflicts With Mortgages

"But bankers and real estate executives, especially in New York, are starting to pay closer attention to the fine print and are raising provocative questions, such as: What happens if they lend money for a piece of land that ends up storing the equivalent of an Olympic-size swimming pool filled with toxic wastewater from drilling?

Fearful of just such a possibility, some banks have become reluctant to grant mortgages on properties leased for gas drilling. At least eight local or national banks do not typically issue mortgages on such properties,lenders say."

Andrew Harrer
October 19, 2011

As natural gas drilling has spread across the country, energy industry representatives have sat down at kitchen tables in states like Texas, Pennsylvania and New York to offer homeowners leases that give companies the right to drill on their land.

Like many landowners, Marie McRae, who has a farm in Freeville, N.Y., says she was not aware she needed her lender's permission for a gas lease.

And over the past 10 years, as natural gas has become increasingly important to the nation’s energy future, Americans have signed more than a million of these leases..continued......