Inspired by articles on Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) web site (http://www.celdf.org), I’ve been looking into the possibility of restoring “local rule” or “home rule” to towns. NY’s Constitution spells it out (see Article IX), but it was usurped as far as natural resources go in 1981 (NY Environmental Conservation Law 23-0303 removed the right of towns and counties to regulate gas drilling; it is exempt from all local ordinances, including noise and planning laws, except those covering road use and real property taxes).
I have been researching movements that have been taking place in Maine, NH and PA, where town have been up against Nestle taking their water for bottling or against toxic sludge being spread on open fields as “fertilizer”. Some towns have passed ordinances banning corporations from certain activities, recognizing the rights of nature, and removing “corporate personhood”. This, to me, seems like are greatest hope to protect the Fingerlakes region, to have all towns pass such an ordinance. Do you think such a things is possible? I’m wondering if there is time enough to draft something, get it reviewed, and have it on the November ballet for people to decide as a community? If we don’t get something like this in place soon, it will be too late. Drilling will likely begin at the beginning of 2010.
Here’s some useful links related to this topic:
The actual ordinance:
Some background information on the fight:
Overview and similar links as above:
Ending Corporate Personhood:
Strengthening Home Rule:
New York Home Rule and Municipal Government:
If you have an interest in pursuing this, please send a note to brew_bird at yahoo.com.