Chad Nicholson
Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

Concerned Citizens for Clara Township initiate a campaign for Home Rule authority and water protection

Clara Township, Potter County, PA: Nearly half of all registered voters in Clara Township have signed on in support of a measure to consider Home Rule powers for the township. Concerned Citizens for Clara Township (CCCT) initiated the effort.

Earlier this year, residents learned Roulette Oil and Gas LLC (ROGC) applied for a Class II Injection Well Permit. Injection wells receive waste from oil and gas wells that is known to be radioactive and contain chemicals that cause cancer. The wells have also been found to cause earthquakes.

Residents of Clara Township rely on private wells or springs, which are susceptible to contamination by leaks and spills of waste water during transportation, storage and injection. Once injected underground, waste has been known to migrate miles through natural cracks and fissures.

“Our work towards Home Rule is about making sure that our community gets to decide important issues, not just the Board of Supervisors,” said Rob Wylie, a member of CCCT and also a Clara Township supervisor. “And, this isn’t just about us. This is about protecting the health and safety of those in ours and neighboring townships, Potter County, and across the state.”

The mountain in Clara where the proposed injection well would be located drains toward streams that feed the Upper Allegheny River, which provides over 500,000 people with their drinking water. The Allegheny joins the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh and together they form the Ohio River, a drinking water source for more than five million people.

Clara’s efforts also coincide with those of Grant Township, a couple hours southwest in Indiana County, PA. Grant Township has been fighting a frack waste injection well since 2013, and democratically enacted a Home Rule Charter in 2015 banning frack waste. Grant Township has been sued in state and federal court — by the industry as well as the PA Department of Environmental Protection — and their case will be heading to trial later this summer.

“We’re proud to work with Clara Township on this effort,” said Chad Nicholson, the organizer for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which is assisting CCCT. “This isn’t just about frack waste, it’s about the future of Pennsylvania communities. Who gets to make the most important decisions where we live?”

Clara Township’s story was recently profiled in Public Herald:


About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is helping build a decolonial movement for Community Rights and the Rights of Nature to advance democratic, economic, social, and environmental rights – building upward from the grassroots to the state, federal, and international levels.

Photo: A groundwater monitoring well installed by JKLM Energy next to an unconventional well pad in the Triple Divide region of Potter County, Pennsylvania. © Joshua Boaz Pribanic for Public Herald

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