The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit, public interest law firm providing free and affordable legal services to communities facing threats to their local environment, local agriculture, the local economy, and quality of life. Our mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.
Established in 1995, the Legal Defense Fund has now become the principal advisor to community groups and municipal governments struggling to transition from merely regulating corporate harms to stopping those harms by asserting local, democratic control directly over corporations.
Through grassroots organizing, public education and outreach, legal assistance, and drafting of ordinances, we have now assisted over 110 municipalities in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maine, and Virginia to draft and adopt new laws with over 350,000 people living under these governing frameworks. These laws address activities such as corporate water withdrawals, longwall coal mining, factory farming, the land application of sewage sludge, and uranium mining.