Tish O’Dell, Ohio Community Organizer

Meigs County and the City of Waterville join growing petitioning efforts


BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, OHIO:  Today residents in Meigs County and the City of Waterville launched their petition campaigns to place rights-based initiatives before voters this November. Meigs County residents are collecting signatures to create a Community Rights County Charter. Waterville residents are collecting signatures for a Bill of Rights Charter Amendment.

Fracking infrastructure projects threaten both communities. Meigs County faces growing numbers of frack wastewater injection wells, imperiling drinking water sources and local ecosystems. Waterville faces the Nexus pipeline and compressor station endangering air quality, causing noise pollution, and – siting within residential communities – placing residents at risk for pipeline leaks and explosions.  Finding no remedy through ODNR, FERC or the Ohio EPA, residents requested the help of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to protect themselves.

“Clean, safe water is a basic right. The people of Meigs County are concerned about the safety of their water.  Signing our Community Rights petition to place the measure on the ballot gives everyone in our community the power to safeguard clean water for our children and future generations,” said Ellen Shelburne of the Meigs County Home Rule Committee.

Tish O’Dell, CELDF’s community organizer, stated, “The state of Ohio has made clear it is not here to protect the people’s rights. Instead, our government works to protect corporate claimed ‘rights.’ Meigs County and Waterville are joining Athens, Portage, and Medina Counties, and the Cities of Columbus and Youngstown, to protect their communities and advance the rights of people to clean air, pure water, and the right to local community self-government.”


Ohio Communities Part of Growing Movement

Ohio residents and their local representatives are advancing Community Rights as part of the broader Community Rights Movement building across the United States. Local communities and state Community Rights Networks are partnering with CELDF to advance fundamental democratic and environmental rights. They are working 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 regarding Meigs County and the City of Waterville, contact To learn about the community groups, go to and

For additional information on the Ohio Community Rights Network, visit To learn about the Community Rights Movement, visit


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.


Additional Resources