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Contact: Chad Nicholson, PA Community Organizer

GRANT TOWNSHIP:  Tonight, the Grant Township Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt aCommunity Bill of Rights Ordinance prohibiting the disposal of oil and gas extraction waste material into injection wells. The Township joins a growing number of communities across Pennsylvania and the U.S. that are codifying their right to local, democratic decision-making and sustainability.

The Ordinance secures community rights to local self-governance, and clean air and water, by banning injection wells as a violation of those rights. Pennsylvania communities are increasingly threatened by injection wells, which endanger drinking water and local aquifers, and have been linked with earthquakes in neighboring Ohio.

Community members contacted CELDF after receiving notification that Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) received a permit from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to inject waste from oil and gas operations into the ground within the Township. Concerned that their right to clean water was in danger, residents worked with CELDF to draft the Community Bill of Rights, gathering broad community support for its adoption by the Board of Supervisors.

Following adoption, Grant Township resident Judy Wanchisn affirmed, “Pure water is guaranteed to us by the Pennsylvania Constitution under Article I, Section 27. That right is unalienable, and our governments have no authority to negotiate our rights away. With the passing of this Ordinance, we are securing and protecting our community’s rights. Water is our most precious resource, and if we don’t take action to protect it for our community and for future generations, who will?”

CELDF’s Chad Nicholson stated, “Grant Township residents – like other communities across the state – face harmful corporate activities that have been illegitimately legalized by state and federal levels of government. Today, they stepped forward to challenge that law, asserting their right to local self-government and sustainability.”

Grant Township joins with Highland Township in Elk County, which last year also passed a Community Bill of Rights banning injection wells. There will be a community gathering in Highland Township on June 21 to build support and solidarity between communities who are asserting and protecting their rights in the face of harmful corporate assaults.

Through grassroots organizing and public interest law, CELDF works with communities across the country to establish Community Rights to democratic, local self-governance and sustainability. CELDF has assisted more than 150 communities to ban shale gas drilling and fracking, factory farming, and water privatization, and eliminate corporate “rights” when they violate community and nature’s rights.  This includes assisting the first communities in the U.S. to establish Rights of Nature in law, as well as the first communities to eliminate corporate constitutional “rights.”