Friday, October 22, 2010

Big Gas Takes a Licking! Residents Assert Rights Over Corporations and Ban Disposal of Frack Water in Licking Township and Nockamixon

 Do you think corporations are individuals?

Posted by: Noel Jones

Check out this resident victory in Licking Township, PA posted to a blog called Public Comment! It explains how residents, with the help of the Community Environment Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), passed an ordinance asserting citizens rights over the rights of corporations, and declaring that corporations are not recognized as individuals in their township. Most Americans don't realize that the beginning of corporate domination over the American citizen began back in 1886 with the case of Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad, which granted corporations protection as individuals under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, and corporations have been screwing the American people with their big money lawyers and lobbyists every since. Big Oil is doing it in the Gulf, and Big Gas is doing it here.

Here's is the Wikigpedia entry of court reporter's note introducing the case:

"The court reporter, J.C. Bancroft Davis, wrote the following as part of the headnote for the case:
"The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does."[5]
In other words, corporations enjoyed the same rights under the Fourteenth Amendment as did natural persons.[6] However, this issue is absent from the court's opinion itself."

CELDF, which you have probably read about before in Dennis Lieb's West Word (Winter Issue 2010) article "Who Decides?" is a nonprofit organization that teaches citizens how they can fight corporations
successfully by take cases out of the legal regulatory realm, and simply passing ordinances declaring that corporations are not individuals in a particular city our township. A few townships, like Licking and Nockamixon, have been successful at rallying enough citizens around these kinds of ordinances enough to get them passed. The power is with the People, we just haven't waken up to it yet.

We do not have to let corporations poison our water, our land, our food and our air. We do not have to let them gobble up all our open farmland and build McMansions to be sold to people that can't afford them. It does not matter how wealthy they are or how powerful they seem. They have tricked us into thinking that the only way to fight them is with expensive lawyers. But if we take the fight out of the courtroom and into city hall, we win. CELDF teaches workshops to residents on how to fight these battles and win.

Is anybody interested? Would readers attend if a CELDF workshop were arranged to be held in Easton?


peterkc said...

Hey Noel - There is a CELDF Democracy School in Allentown on Nov. 5 & 6 ! More info about these events at the Alliance website [] and CELDF []. -Peter

noel jones said...

that's great news--do you know how much it costs? i really want to go to that--thanks for the link, peter!

noel jones said...

peter--I've linked Alliance for Sustainable Communities on my home page now under "Good Links"

Cathy said...

And it would be great if the Supreme Court were forced to take it back. A lawyer recently told me that the court rarely recinds rights once granted unless it can be proven that those rights infringe on other previously granted rights. Top of my wish list is a lawyer who is willing to represent some of the human beings whose constitutional rights have been wiped out due to rights granted to corporations. There is no way a finite human being can be counted as equal to a rich multnational non breathing bloodless entity. But that is what the Supreme Court allows. Free speech to something which has not a mouth of its own!!!!??? Corporations are entities that many real people hide behind in order not to be accountable personally. There is a great book on this Unequal Protection Under the Law I think it is called which which explains the many ways this is the case.

David Caines said...

I'm hopeful that we've come to a time in American history where this great injuustice might be reversed. It's going to be a fight though. Coprs have enjoyed huge power in the US and may choose to move their bases of operation to more friendly nations if denied rights that they previously enjoyed.
On the other hand, we are a much more aware and ethnically equal people now. Hell, women didn't have the vote when this was accepted, Blacks barely, and pretty much no one else.
So it should be interesting.
I hope it goes well, and that we can protect ourselves against economic black mail from corps who don't favor the change.

Dennis R. Lieb said...

Cost for the upcoming Democracy School in Allentown will be between $30 and $80 depending on ability to pay. It will be the two-day version of the class.

I am working on bringing CELDF to Easton for a Democracy School in early 2011. My new position with the West Ward Partnership should make that easier but I'm not going to confirm it for sure yet.


noel jones said...

thanks for the info, Dennis--i might attend both, just so the information can sink in twice as deep. this is a critical concept for residents to learn--anyone wanna join me? i make an interesting classmate, if i do say so myself...

Anonymous said...

Stay close to CELDF ! They have been most helpful to us here in Northeast Pa. The fight is not over...and I think we have come up on the radar.
They haven't killed the Earth yet.

Suzie said...

Register with the Alliance, those of you who want to do the course. There is some reading materials to peruse before the Democracy School, so leave yourself a little time. See you there!

Suzie Buller
The Alliance for Sustainable Communities

Cathy said...

The issue came up at the Canton Meeting for my canton last year led by Tom Jones. So it should already have been registered in the paperwork as part of the resident inventory/feedback etc. that was collected by WWNP. It is a legit pursuit for the Urban Ecology Project as it is relevant to urban ecology and the sustainability of a human community centered around living beings as opposed to agendas of non living legal entities which have mistakenly been given human rights.

noel jones said...

Suzie, thanks for posting--can we register on line at your site? I have linked The Alliance for Sustainable Communities on the right side bar of my blog for anyone interested.

Cathy--thanks for letting us know that this is already a part of WWNP resident input. Dennis is working on getting another workshop set up in Easton early next year, so perhaps he's working with the feedback you mentioned. I really want to try to attend both if I can. I have heard that it is a lot of information to digest, so it can't hurt to go twice...

noel jones said...

FYI everybody--I looked on the Alliance site, and the workshop is advertised as only $30 - $80 depending on need...