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Pennsylvania Town Opposes Fracking, Says Civil Disobedience a Human Right

© AP Photo / Alastair GrantDemonstrators hold up placards as they take part in an anti-fracking protest outside the Palace of Westminster in London.
Demonstrators hold up placards as they take part in an anti-fracking protest outside the Palace of Westminster in London. - Sputnik International
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A Pennsylvania town attempting to stop the use of fracking, a highly toxic and economically-questionable method of oil extraction, has ruled that direct action and civil disobedience is a protected civic duty.

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Grant Township, a hotbed of fracking prevention and protest, on Tuesday passed an ordinance proclaiming that the use of nonviolent resistance against fossil fuel companies is protected because it is a “sanctioned civil right.”

The new ordinance stems from a November 2015 adoption of the country’s first-ever municipal charter, aimed directly at fighting Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (PIOGA). The charter established a local set of protocols codifying environmental and democratic rights, Common Dreams reports.

“If a court does not uphold the people’s right to stop corporate activities threatening the well-being of the community, the ordinance codifies that, ‘any natural person may then enforce the rights and prohibitions of the charter through direct action.’ Further, the ordinance states that any nonviolent direct action to enforce their Charter is protected, ‘prohibit[ing] any private or public actor from bringing criminal charges or filing any civil or other criminal action against those participating in nonviolent direct action,’” a press release from Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), who assisted with drafting the ordinance, said in a press release.

The charter has been hailed as "one of the boldest moves to stop the natural gas industry's attacks on our communities, climate and democracy.”

"We're tired of being told by corporations and our so-called environmental regulatory agencies that we can't stop this injection well," stated Grant Township Supervisor Stacy Long. "We're being threatened by a corporation with a history of permit violations, and that corporation wants to dump toxic frack wastewater into our Township."

"I live here, and I was also elected to protect the health and safety of this Township. I will do whatever it takes to provide our residents with the tools and protections they need to nonviolently resist aggressions like those being proposed by PGE,” Long continued.

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