Grant Township has appeared frequently in Susquehanna over the past few years, and the stakes continue to get higher. A quick history:
- June 2014: Grant Township passes a CELDF-drafted Community Bill of Rights Ordinance prohibiting toxic frack wastewater injection wells.
- August 2014: Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) sues Grant Township, represented by CELDF, in federal court to overturn the Community Bill of Rights. PGE claims that Grant Township is violating the corporation’s right to inject frack waste.
- October 2015: A federal judge overturns parts of the Ordinance, claiming that Grant Township, classified as a “Second Class Township” in Pennsylvania, lacks the authority to adopt such an ordinance.
- November 2015: Just three weeks after the judge’s decision, the voters of Grant Township adopt the nation’s first rights-based Charter, changing their form of government to a Home Rule Municipality; the new Charter overrides the judge’s earlier decision and reinstates the ban on injection wells.
- May 2016: The ban on injection wells remains, but Township residents no longer have faith that the courts will uphold their law. Thus, a new law is passed in the Township, legalizing direct action to enforce the Township’s charter if state or federal courts fail to protect residents’ rights.
And now, at an industry conference, the entitled bullies behind the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (PIOGA) are coordinating a new front: to pursue criminal charges against elected officials who dare to uphold their oaths to protect the health and safety of their communities, including those in Grant Township.
The officials in Grant Township remain unbowed. Said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Jon Perry:
“Passing laws that protect our community from the harmful effects of an industry that wants to dump toxic waste in our Township is my duty. We’ve received threats and lawsuits from this industry over the past few years, and their inability to control us, and their desperation to stop us, is leading to increasingly unhinged behavior and rhetoric. If they’re ready for another round, then bring it on.”
Photo: TruthDig, Death by Fracking AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast