Tish O’Dell, Ohio Community Organizer

Communities work to advance rights, protecting against fracking and its infrastructure


COLUMBUS, OHIO: Primary election day tomorrow marks the launching of five petition campaigns to advance Community Rights to protect Ohio communities from fracking activities.

Residents in Medina, Athens, and Portage Counties are working to place County Charters on the November ballot. Joining them are residents of the Cities of Columbus and Youngstown, where residents are kicking off municipal Community Bills of Rights petition campaigns.

Communities across Ohio are threatened with fracking, pipelines, compressor stations, and frack wastewater injection wells. Fearing the loss of clean air and water, and harm to their families and natural environment, not only have residents found no remedy in their state government – they’ve learned their state government is working with the oil and gas industry to block them from protecting themselves.

Municipalities across the state have been working with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) since 2011 to assert their rights and protect their communities.

CELDF assisted each community group in drafting their rights-based measures, which establish the rights of people and nature to clean air, water, sustainability and the right to flourish. They also subordinate corporate claimed “rights” to the rights of the people, and would give all residents in each county or municipality decision-making authority where it matters most: in the places where they live. Fracking and its infrastructure would be banned as a violation of those rights.

“Ohio communities are no longer willing to accept a legal and legislative system that forces fracking and other corporate harms into communities, without the people’s consent,” stated Tish O’Dell, CELDF Ohio Community Organizer. “These initiatives are about the people using their right to self-govern, to protect their own health, safety, and welfare, when they realize that no one else will.” CELDF assisted each community group in drafting their rights-based measures.


Ohio Part of Growing National Movement

Ohio residents are advancing Community Rights as part of the broader Community Rights Movement building across the United States. Local communities and state Community Rights Networks across the country are partnering with CELDF to advance fundamental democratic, environmental, and economic rights. They have worked with CELDF to establish Community Rights and the Rights of Nature in law, and prohibit extraction,  fracking, factory farming, water privatization, and other industrial activities as violations of those rights. Communities are joining together within and across states, working with CELDF to advance systemic change – recognizing our existing system of law and governance as inherently undemocratic and unsustainable.


Additional Information

For additional information about the Community Rights Movement, visit  For information on where to sign a petition in a specific community, contact Tish O’Dell at


About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

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, local economy, and quality of life. Its mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.


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