March 23, 2017

Tish O’Dell, Ohio Community Organizer

Chad Nicholson, Pennsylvania Community Organizer

MERCERSBURG, PA:  At a time of unprecedented climatic shifts and increasing environmental harms, the Ohio / Pennsylvania Communities Rising Tour: Defying the Corporate State is taking place in partnership between residents, local groups, and nonprofit organizations in both states.

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), the Ohio Community Rights Network (OHCRN), the Pennsylvania Community Rights Network (PACRN), and several local community groups are co-sponsors. The event takes place April 7th – 10th.

CELDF, OHCRN, and PACRN have been partnering with Ohio and Pennsylvania residents, who are inundated with environmental harms: fracking, pipelines, compressor stations, wastewater injection wells, factory farming, sewage sludging, and countless others threats. They are working together to advance Community Rights, including the right to clean air, water, and soil, the rights of nature, and the right to local community self-government.

Communities are joining together to protect themselves. They are finding the corporate state – corporate representatives and their own government – attempting to block them.

Rather than retreating, Ohioans and Pennsylvanians are galvanized to further action. The Ohio / Pennsylvania Communities Rising Tour features voices from the front lines in the wave of direct action against the corporate-state: Climate Disobedience Center co-founder Ken Ward, CELDF’s Thomas Linzey, and several Ohio and Pennsylvania community leaders who are spearheading the Community Rights Movement, are part of the tour as they take action to protect their communities and grow Community Rights.

Kathie Jones, of Medina County, Ohio stated, “The time is now and it is up to us. No one else is going to protect our communities. The Communities Rising Tour is about what we the people must do – what we are doing – in the places we live to safeguard clean air and water, to recognize the rights of ecosystems to thrive, and to exercise our most cherished right to local community self-government!”

CELDF’s Chad Nicholson added, “Our state and federal governments have removed the democratic veneer we’ve operated under for more than 200 years, exposing the truth that the will of the people is meaningless if it threatens corporate profits and empire. Pennsylvanians, Ohioans, and people across the U.S. are taking action to change that.”

The tour will stop in Medina and Portage Counties, OH, on April 7th and 8th, respectively; and Grant Township and Lancaster County, PA, on April 9th and 10th, respectively. For details visit CELDF’s website here.


Ohio and Pennsylvania Communities Part of Growing Movement

Ohio and Pennsylvania residents are advancing Community Rights as part of the broader Community Rights Movement building across the United States, where other localities are advancing similar measures to establish and protect their right to a healthy climate.

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 petitioning communities, contact CELDF at To learn about the Ohio Community Rights Network, visit To learn about the Pennsylvania 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