Ohio Residents File Class Action Lawsuit Against State & Fracking Corps

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BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, OH:  Today, residents of Broadview Heights, Ohio, filed a first-in-the-state class action lawsuit against the State of Ohio, Governor John R. Kasich, and Bass Energy, Inc. and Ohio Valley Energy Systems Corp.  The lawsuit was filed to protect the rights of the people of Broadview Heights to self-governance, including their right to ban fracking.

In November 2012, residents of Broadview Heights overwhelmingly adopted a Home Rule Charter Amendment – proposed by residents – banning all new commercial extraction of gas and oil within the City limits.  The Amendment establishes aCommunity Bill of Rights – which secures the rights of human and natural communities to water and a healthy environment.  The Bill of Rights bans fracking and frack waste disposal as a violation of those rights.

In June 2014, Bass Energy and Ohio Valley Energy filed a lawsuit against the City of Broadview Heights to overturn the Community Bill of Rights.  The corporations are contending that the community does not have the legal authority to protect itself from fracking, and that corporations have the constitutional “right” to frack.

Residents involved in drafting and proposing the Community Bill of Rights attempted to intervene in the lawsuit, to defend the community’s right to self-governance, including the right to say “no” to fracking and other threats.  However, in September, the Court of Common Pleas of Cuyahoga County denied the motion to intervene, ruling that the residents did not have a direct “interest” in this case.

With the court’s denial of intervention, residents decided to move forward with the class action lawsuit.  In filing the lawsuit, Broadview Heights residents argue that the Ohio Oil and Gas Act, known as HB 278, and the industry’s enforcement of the Act, violate the constitutional right of residents to local self-government.

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) assisted residents of Broadview Heights to draft the Community Bill of Rights.  CELDF is providing its support and expertise to the residents of Broadview Heights with the filing of the class action lawsuit.

CELDF Executive Director, Thomas Linzey, Esq., stated, “This class action lawsuit is merely the first in Ohio, and expected to be one of many filed by people across the United States whose constitutional rights to govern their own communities are routinely violated by state governments working in concert with the corporations that they ostensibly regulate.  The people of Broadview Heights will not stand idly by as their rights are negotiated away by oil and gas corporations, their state government, and their own municipal government.”  The residents of Lafayette, Colorado, filed a similar lawsuit in August of this year.

Through grassroots organizing and public interest law, CELDF works with communities across the country to establish Community Rights to democratic, local self-governance and sustainability. CELDF has assisted nearly 200 communities to ban shale gas drilling and fracking, factory farming, water privatization, and other threats, and eliminate corporate “rights” when they violate community and nature’s rights.  This includes assisting the first communities in the U.S. to establish Rights of Nature in law, as well as the first communities to elevate the rights of communities above the “rights” of corporations.

  • azaredaniel

    We need a National Feed in Tariff.

    A California Residential Feed in Tariff would allow homeowners to sell their Renewable Energy to the utility, protecting our communities from Poison Water, Grid Failures, Natural Disasters, Toxic Natural Gas and Oil Fracking. It would also create a new revenue stream for the Hard Working Taxpaying, Voting, Homeowner.

    No one is fighting for the Hard Working, Taxpaying, Voting, Homeowner, we can change that with a Ca. Residential Feed in Tariff Energy policy that allows everyone to participate. Homeowner’s, Small and Large Businesses, Small and Large farmers, and Industries, have the right to sell Renewable Energy electricity to the utility.

    California, there is enough Residential Solar to power 2.25 San Onofres, couple that with a Commercial Feed in Tariff and we can solve some of these environmental and electrical generating problems.

    This petition will ask the California Regulators and Law makers to allocate Renewable Portfolio Standards to Ca. Home Owners for a Residential Feed in Tariff, the RPS is the allocation method that is used to set aside a certain percentage of electrical generation for Renewable Energy in the the State. The State of California has mandated that 33% of its Energy come from Renewable Energy by 2020.

    California Energy and Water Consumption an a Ban Fracking song

    Sign and Share for a Ca. Residential Feed in Tariff. Go to the youtube site, look six inches below video, click on Show More, then click on blue link to sign the petition.

    Attachments area

    Preview YouTube video We Need To Ban Fracking.

  • Great News: Thank you Residents of Ohio for taking this strong stand and insisting on Self-governance and to ban toxic, dangerous Fracking/gas drilling from your State….

  • winterarrives

    PA needs to follow suit

  • Reannne

    Thank you citizens of Broadview Hts! How can anyone argue that communities do not have “interest” in oil and gas development zoning in their communities? This action benefits all citizens in Ohio.

  • Penny Steele

    What does it matter in Broadview Hts? The companies have already drilled and the wells are in place. The residents already allowed the gas/oil companies to drill on their property…