Greg Coleridge, Director, Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee
14. December. 2010
Thank you for sponsoring this hearing to listen to community concerns. I encourage you to support enacting an ordinance prohibiting gas drilling in your community.
The discussion and debate surrounding the issue of hydralic fracking in Plain Township is more than simply about drilling for natural gas. It’s also more than about water contamination associated with drilling. It’s even more than about property values and road safety connected to increased truck traffic.
The core issue is about democracy, about self-governance. It’s about whether the citizens of Plain Township and their elected Trustees have the authority to protect their citizens or not. It’s at root whether citizens have the right to decide by ordinance what a gas drilling corporation can and cannot do to protect the health, safety and welfare of their community.
Who (or what) possesses more power? Citizens? Or corporations?
Claims that drilling corporations have some god-given, cosmic or legal constitutional right to do what they want, when they want, and where they want is an assault on We the People’s right to protect our own community — politically, economically and environmentally.
Throughout history, corporations have escaped democratic control in three different ways:
1. By working to shift decision making from one political level to another (local to state, state to national, national to international). Drilling corporations have done this by working to pass a state law removing the right of local communities to control gas drilling.
2. By working to shift decisions from the legislative level to regulatory agencies – which are easier to influence. The compliant and corporate friendly…and funded… Ohio Department of Natural Resources is Exhibit A on this front, and,
3. By shifting decision making from the legislative arena to the courts – where judges can be easily influenced to buy into the ridiculous notion that corporations have same constitutional Bill of Rights protections as human beings.
Citizens are waking up. Local public officials are waking up. People are tired of being pushed around, led around, and given the run around by corporations.
The time has not yet arrived when the created is greater than the creator. We the People through laws and charters create corporations. They are legal creations of government provided with privileges to do what we feel will serve the common good. They’ve not been given permission to tell us what to do or how we should run our cities, villages and townships.
I applaud the efforts of Plain Township to consider passing an ordinance that asserts the Township’s right to decide what the people of Plain Township, not some outside gas drilling corporation, considers best for protecting the health, safety and welfare of your community.