Maine Town Passes Ordinance Asserting Local Self-Governance and Stripping Corporate Personhood
Sun, 2009-03-01 .
Today the citizens of
pass a groundbreaking Rights-Based Ordinance, 114 for and 66 against. This
revolutionary ordinance give its citizens the right to local
self-governance and gives rights to ecosystems but denies the rights of
personhood to corporations. This ordinance allows the citizens to protect
their groundwater resources, putting it in a common trust to be used for
the benefit of its residents.
Shapleigh is the first community in
extends rights to nature, however, the Ordinance Review Committee in Wells,
under attack by Nestle Waters, N.A., a multi-national water miner that
sells bottled water under such labels as Poland Springs.
Communities have opposed the expansion by Nestle Waters, but the
corporation will not take no for an answer. The town of
been in litigation with Nestle for six years. Nestle wants to expand and
the town’s people say no to the tanker trunk traffic which has disrupted
their quiet scenic beauty, so Nestle’s tactic is to wear them down, and
break their bank.
Nestle is the world’s largest food and beverage company and has very deep
pockets. However, we won’t back down, we are the stewards of this most
precious resource water, and we want to protect it for future generations.
interested in expanding for the purpose of filling their Poland Springs
bottles today, they are interested in the control of
resources for the future. They are expanding in many parts of this country
capitalize on the emerging crisis of global water scarcity.
The right to water is a social justice issue and we believe that it should
not be sold to those who can afford it, leaving the world’s poorest
citizens thirsty. Citizens will do a much better job of protecting this
resource than a for-profit corporation.
The concept of a rights-based ordinance was pioneered by environmental
attorney Thomas Linzey, founder of the Community Environmental Legal
Defense Fund of
and with another in
To date there have been no legal challenges to these ordinances. Linzey
resources from corporate exploitation.
Activists have learned the hard way that trying to protect their
communities and the environment by going the route of fighting a typical
regulatory ordinance, which is written by corporate lobbyists, will fail to
protect communities from harms done.
The multi-national corporation’s allegiance is never to the communities
where they do business, as that could conflict with their fiduciary
responsibility to make a profit for stockholders.
People throughout the country are saying “enough is enough, large
corporations have too much power.” Constitutional Rights were granted to
corporations from the bench in the 1800’s and it is time to rectify a
wrong! People are saying let’s dismantle the neo-colonial corporate power
by starting with their right to personhood.
with a right to our water resources. We decided that we will behave as if
we have the power and ignore the naysayers who said that people will never
vote to take rights away from corporations or to give rights to nature. We
want to encourage other communities join us. The time is now!
Copies of the The Shapleigh,
meeting and The Shapleigh Water Rights and Local Self-Government Warrant
are available from the Contact Person, below.
For more information on attorney Thomas Linzey and the Community
Environmental Defense Fund, please visit: http://www.celdf.org
For more information about the battle to protect ground water in
LEGISLATION tab and go to ORDINANCES to read the important new Shapleigh
CONTACT PERSON: Jamilla El-Shafei Save Our Water steering committee member
and organizer steering committee member of the
(state-wide coalition) 603.969.8426 firstname.lastname@example.org