CACR8 is denied advancement by the New Hampshire House


Michelle Sanborn, New England Community Organizer

CONCORD, NH: Last week, the NH Community Rights Amendment, CACR8, went before the state House of Representatives and was blocked from advancing to a vote by New Hampshire citizens.

CACR8 would guarantee the people of New Hampshire the right to protect human and natural communities through local law-making. The amendment would secure the right of local self-governance to protect people, communities, and natural environments threatened by corporate claimed “rights” to force harmful projects into communities. It specifies that adopted local laws must not infringe on existing fundamental rights and protections under other local, state, federal, or international laws.

In 2018, this same amendment achieved a landmark vote of support from the then-minority Democratic party after a decade of communities calling for the legislature to recognize the right of local community self-government. In early March, community members from across the state attended a committee hearing, providing over an hour of testimony in support of the amendment.

However, rather than advancing the amendment to New Hampshire citizens for a vote, the House chose to deny residents, their communities, and ecosystems the right to protect their health, safety, and welfare from corporate harm.

Prime sponsor Representative Ellen Read commented, “Towns should take note that the State House, neither under Republican nor Democratic leadership, is looking out for the people’s health and safety. Instead, they are happy to tie the hands of citizens while allowing corporate activities to pollute water, take resources, destroy natural environments, and ruin the quality of life of citizens the State is charged to protect.”

The rights-based amendment was drafted by the New Hampshire Community Rights Network, with assistance from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF).

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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