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Pennsylvania Township Becomes First in the Nation to Ban Corporate Mining

Pennsylvania Township Becomes First in the Nation to Ban Corporate Mining, Becomes Third Municipality in Pennsylvania to Recognize the Rights Of Nature, and Seventh in the Nation to Strip Corporations of “Rights”

CONTACT: Thomas Linzey, Esq.
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(717) 709-0457

Chambersburg, Pennsylvania (October 17) – On October 16th , the Blaine Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to adopt an Ordinance banning corporations from mining within the Township. Passed to confront concerns about corporate longwall coal mining in the Township, the Ordinance prohibits corporations from engaging in mining activities. With its passage, the Township becomes the first municipality in the United States to ban corporate mining.

In addition to prohibiting corporations from mining, the Supervisors unanimously adopted a second Ordinance that strips corporations of constitutional protections within the Township. With the passage of the Ordinance, the Township becomes the seventh municipality in the nation to refuse to recognize corporate constitutional “rights,” and to prohibit corporate “rights” from being used to override the rights of human and natural communities.

The Ordinances adopted by the Blaine Township Board of Supervisors also (1) recognize the rights of nature, including the rights of streams and rivers within the Township, and provide for the enforcement and defense of those rights, (2) prohibit corporate contributions to candidates for elected office within the Township, (3) prohibit mining corporations from purchasing mineral rights or land for mining, and (4) prohibit mining corporations from interfering with the civil rights of residents, including residents’ right to self-government.

The Ordinances were drafted by Blaine Township residents in conjunction with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit law firm, and the Citizens Coal Council (CCC). Thomas Linzey, the Executive Director of the Legal Defense Fund, applauded the vote of the Board of Supervisors, declaring that “this is truly a monumental – but logical – step for a local government to take. A handful of large corporations control surface and longwall mining in Western Pennsylvania, and those corporations – and the few who run them – have routinely used State law to preempt municipalities wanting to stop the harms caused by mining in the region. This Ordinance is the first step towards restoring the governing authority of community majorities, and eliminating the governing authority of a corporate few.”

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, has worked with communities resisting corporate assaults upon democratic self-governance since 1995. Among other programs, it has brought its unique Daniel Pennock Democracy Schools to communities in Pennsylvania and twenty-five other states where people seek to end destructive and rights-denying corporate acts routinely permitted by state and federal agencies. Over one hundred Pennsylvania municipalities have adopted ordinances authored by the Legal Defense Fund.

A copy of the Ordinance can be obtained by accessing the Legal Defense Fund’s website at, or by e-mailing the Legal Defense Fund at





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