The people of Newton Township need to consider that the false sense of security from an unlawful ordinance can do more harm than good. When people feel helpless they are vulnerable to schemes that have little or no value.
Reportedly, The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) drafted an ordinance to stop gas drilling in Newton Township in Lackawanna County. The Activist group pushes ordinances that among other things attempt to strip corporations of their rights and prohibit them from doing business in a municipality.
The group held a rally at the Newton Recreation Center on March 30, 2011 but as of today Newton Township has not received the proposed ordinance. The township supervisors will be meeting on Monday, April 11 at 7:30pm.
While CELDF puts on a good show to recruit people and perhaps make them feel good, the problem is that it has a history of writing illegal laws and losing court cases in Pennsylvania. The activist group’s campaign against farmers caused many municipalities to be sued by the Pennsylvania Attorney General for having unlawful ordinances.
CELDF’s co-founder attorney Thomas Linzey lost two court battles over ordinances that the group wrote for Blaine Township in Washington County which, among other things, banned natural gas drilling in Blaine. Similar ordinances written by CELDF and adopted by neighboring Donegal were repealed in order to settle a lawsuit. See Federal court decisions Range v. Blaine and Penn Ridge v. Blaine
Among the activist group’s bizarre declarations is that by simply claiming certain rights to “self-government” or of “Nature” is sufficient to invalidate the property rights of individual citizens and corporations.
Blaine’s Township solicitor advised against adopting the ordinances but the Township supervisors adopted CELD’s ordinances and initiated enforcement.
Penn Ridge Coal, and then gas driller Range Resources, sued the township, and the cases went to Chief U.S. District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose. Blaine's insurance company even filed a complaint against the township, arguing that it had no duty to defend its client in the matter. CELDF Executive Director Thomas Linzey, an attorney, handled the defense. Read more: http://post-gazette.com/pg/10276/109225 ... z1IluSq62v
Recently, the same activist group drafted a drilling ban ordinance for the Borough of Harveys Lake in Luzerne County based on the same failed assertions used in Blaine Township. Borough council voted 6-0 against the ordinance. Click here to see the ordinance.
Borough solicitor Charles D. McCormick called the ordinance “overly broad” and “legally questionable,” particularly in its outlining of the inalienable rights of natural communities and ecosystems, and said “it will most likely cause significant difficulty for the residents down the road completely outside of the question of the gas drilling.” Read More: http://www.timesleader.com/news/Harveys ... -2011.html