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Friday, January 19, 2018

PA Court Ruling Smacks Down Home Rule Fracking Bans; What Could it Mean in Ohio?

From the Athens News:
Dick McGinn, who has led efforts in Athens city and county to pass community bill of rights ordinances or amendments, also criticized the Pennsylvania federal judge’s decision.

“Obviously the judge has little interest in civil rights,” he wrote in an email. “Her chosen legal path is to favor the ‘rights’ of corporations to trample on civil rights. The fight will continue. The people will win in the end.”

McGinn, in his capacity as a leader of the Athens County Bill of Rights Committee, issued a news release Tuesday celebrating the fact that Athens City Council had codified language in the Community Bill of Rights passed by voters in 2014, “exactly as voted on by the people; and includes the ballot language, too.” This is the same CELDF-originated legal reasoning that the federal judge in Pennsylvania rejected in the Grant Township case.

Athens Law Director Lisa Eliason was asked Tuesday if she felt concerned about the Athens law considering the sanctioning and referral to the Supreme Court of the CELDF attorneys in the Pennsylvania case. “I do not believe the act of codifying the Bill of Rights Initiative Petition exposes the city of Athens to the type of liability set forth in the Pennsylvania case,” she responded. “The city of Athens Bill of Rights Initiative Petition passed by an overwhelming majority and represents the ‘home rule’ will of the people.”

JACKIE STEWART, WHO DIRECTS the oil and gas industry-funded outreach group, Energy in Depth (EID) Ohio, issued a statement on Monday, praising the federal judge’s decision.

“The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund has been targeting communities all over the country for years with misinformation campaigns and has proven to be nothing more than a litigation factory, as this recent federal judge has confirmed,” Stewart wrote. “EID has been cataloging the extensive costs incurred in towns where CELDF operates, and we are pleased that a federal judge has now recognized that ‘such litigation creates enormous expense to parties and taxes limited judicial resources.’

“CELDF has made it clear that its goal is to ‘bankrupt’ towns it operates in, and now a federal judge has finally exposed how incredibly deceptive this group is. A prime example is Youngstown, where CELDF has cost taxpayers over $187,000 and voters have rejected the group's Community Bill of Rights six consecutive times."
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