On Tuesday, November 3rd, history was made in Pennsylvania: Grant Township voters adopted the first rights-based municipal charter in the country with 68% of the vote. The charter reinstates a ban on injection wells, despite a recent ruling from a federal judge that had overturned portions of an earlier Ordinance. The people of Grant Township spoke loud and clear: they have rights, they will protect those rights, and nobody − not a corporation, not the state government, and not a federal judge − has the authority to tell them that they have to accept toxic frack waste in their community.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the state, the voters of West Chester Borough adopted a rights-based amendment to their charter, banning fracking activities including wells, waste disposal, and pipelines. That amendment was passed with a clear mandate, receiving over 73% of the vote. Community members in West Chester are now planning to build off of the ban, and move towards a policy for the Borough that would require transitioning to sustainable forms of energy.
The wins in both Grant and West Chester highlight the growing movement across Pennsylvania that is demanding real, substantive change. Feel-good measures aren’t going to cut it, and politicians in Harrisburg or Washington, D. C. aren’t going to provide the remedies that are desperately needed. The answers are coming from us – we the people – within our own communities.
Photo by Dwight Burdette in Wikimedia Commons.