Fracking Bill of Rights succeeds on ballot in Mansfield and Broadview Heights, Ohio
November 6 marks a tremendous victory for the fracktivists in Mansfield, Ohio. They passed a "Community Bill of Rights" referendum with 62.87% of the vote on Tuesday.
by Free Press staff
November 8, 2012
The Center for Health, Environment, and Justice reported this:
"Mansfield is a city with roughly 48,000 citizens located 80 miles southwest of Cleveland and 66 miles northeast of Columbus, right in the heart of the Utica Shale basin. Eric Belcastro, the Pennsylvania Organizer for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), explained the rationale behind the “Bill of Rights” push in a blog post:
Faced with the permitting of two 5,000 foot deep injection wells in Mansfield by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)…[t]he amendment would drive a community Bill of Rights into Mansfield’s charter and then prohibit the injection of fracking wastewater on grounds that such prohibition is necessary to secure and protect those community rights. The amendment also recognizes corporate “rights” as subordinate to the rights of the people of Mansfield, as well as recognizing the rights of residents, natural communities and ecosystems to clean air and water."
Part of the Bill of Rights Amendment reads:
(A) Right to Sustainable Water. All residents, natural communities and ecosystems in the City of
Mansfield possess a fundamental and inalienable right to sustainably access, use, consume, and
preserve water drawn from natural water cycles that provide water necessary to sustain life
within the City.
(B) Right to Clean Air. All residents, natural communities and ecosystems in the City of Mansfield
possess a fundamental and inalienable right to breathe air untainted by toxins, carcinogens,
particulates and other substances known to cause harm to health.
(C) Right to Peaceful Enjoyment of Home. Residents of the City of Mansfield possess a
fundamental and inalienable right to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes, free from
interference, intrusion, nuisances or impediments to access and occupation.
(D) Right to a Sustainable Energy Future. All residents in the City of Mansfield possess a right to
a sustainable energy future, which includes, but is not limited to, the development, production,
and use of energy from renewable fuel sources.
(E) Right to Self‐Government. All residents of the City of Mansfield possess the fundamental and
inalienable right to a form of governance where they live which recognizes that all power is
inherent in the people, that all free governments are founded on the people’s authority and
consent, and that corporate or other entities and their directors and managers shall not enjoy
special privileges or powers under the law which make municipal community majorities
subordinate to them.
(F) People as Sovereign. The City of Mansfield shall be the governing authority responsible to,
and governed by, the residents of the City. Use of the “City of Mansfield” municipal corporation
by the sovereign people of the City to make law shall not be construed to limit or surrender the
sovereign authority or immunities of the people to a municipal corporation that is subordinate
to them in all respects at all times. The people at all times enjoy and retain an inalienable and
indefeasible right to self‐governance in the community where they reside.
(G) Rights as Self‐Executing. All rights delineated and secured by this Charter shall be selfexecuting
and these rights shall be enforceable against corporations and governmental entities.
(H) Securing and Protecting Rights. To further secure and protect the rights enumerated by the
Bill of Rights:
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person or corporation, or any director, officer, owner, or
manager of a corporation or government or any entity to use a corporation or
government or entity, to inject, deposit, store or transport waste water, “produced”
water, “frack” water, brine or other materials, chemicals or by‐products from the
development of natural gas from shale formations, within, upon or through the land, air
or waters of the City of Mansfield, without the written legislative consent of the City of
(2) No permit, license, privilege or charter issued by any State or government agency,
Commission or Board to any person or any corporation or government or any entity
operating under State laws, or any director, officer, owner, or manager of a corporation
or government or any entity operating under State laws, which would violate the
prohibitions of this Charter provision or deprive any City resident(s), of any rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by this Charter, the Ohio Constitution, the United
States Constitution, or other laws, shall be deemed valid within the City of Mansfield,
without the written legislative consent of the City of Mansfield.
(3) The provisions of this section are severable. If any court of competent jurisdiction
decides that any sub‐section, clause, sentence, part, or provision of this section is illegal,
invalid, or unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect, impair, or invalidate any of
the remaining sub‐sections, clauses, sentences, parts, or provisions of this Bill of Rights
and its prohibitions. The People of the City of Mansfield hereby declare that in the event
of such a decision, and the determination that the court’s ruling is legitimate, they
would have enacted this amendment even without the sub‐section, clause, sentence,
part, or provision that the court decides is illegal, invalid, or unconstitutional. All
inconsistent provisions of prior Ordinances and zoning Ordinances adopted at any time
by the City of Mansfield are hereby held in abeyance, but shall take immediate effect...[no date indicated]."
Ecowatch Journal also reported, "Yesterday, voters in Broadview Heights, Ohio came out in record numbers to say yes to the adoption of a Community Bill of Rights banning corporations from conducting new gas and oil drilling and related activities in their city.
The Broadview Heights charter amendment was drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) at the invitation of the community group Mothers Against Drilling In Our Neighborhoods (MADION), a group of citizens concerned about the potential effects of gas and oil drilling on their families and the environment.
Broadview Heights is the first municipality in the state of Ohio to not only include a local Bill of Rights in the City Charter, but to protect those rights by prohibiting all new gas and oil drilling, fracking and injection wells. The Village of Yellow Springs became the first community in Ohio to adopt a local law asserting the fundamental rights of residents to clean air and water, and to protect the rights of nature. Broadview Heights’ new law includes these same provisions and was placed on the ballot through an initiative petitioning process led by MADION."
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