Launching of the Washington Community Rights Network

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Washington Communities Launch Statewide Network To Advocate for Community Rights
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  Washington Community Rights Network   A special project of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund    Washington Communities Launch Statewide Network To Advocate for Community Rights “The corporate state is not science fiction. It’s barreling through mycommunity in the form of coal trains. Government isn’t going to stop thiskind of destructive behavior. It’s going to take people, in the placeswhere we live, to break the chokehold of law favoring corporate rule toone of community rights.” – Rick Dubrow of Bellingham, Washington. MEDIA RELEASE August 7, 2012CONTACT: Kai Huschke509.607.5034info@celdf.org SPOKANE: In late July, citizens from Washington communities gatheredin Spokane to launch the Washington Community Rights Network (WCRN) .Network members released The Spokane Declaration , calling uponcommunities across the state to join together in a movement to elevatethe rights of people, their communities, and nature above the claimedrights of corporations. This comes with an understanding, as stated inthe Declaration, that: (O)ur communities are under siege from corporations exploiting our communities for resource extraction and a variety of other uses harmful to us and the natural environment...from a structure of law that has bestowed greater rights on thosecorporations than the communities in which they operate…  The creation of the Washington Community Rights Network comes out of active community campaigns on both sides of the Cascades. Bellinghamhas qualified a Community Bill of Rights initiative for the November 2012  ballot. The measure wouldsecure residents rights to clean air andwater, along with prohibiting coal trains from passing throughBellingham.In Spokane, an effort is underway to qualify a third Community Bill of Rights for the November 2013 ballot. In 2011 voters nearly passed asimilar measure that would’ve given neighborhood residents decision-making power over major development, greater protections for the riverand aquifer, and worker rights over that of corporate rights. Seattle,Vancouver, Skagit County, Whatcom County, and other Washingtoncommunities are at various stages of community rights efforts. The Network will expand its grassroots organizing to communities acrossWashington. Kai Huschke, Legal Defense Fund Organizer and WCRNCoordinator, explained, “As a growing number of communities facethreats including massive coal shipments, they are reaching the sharedconclusion that corporations, along with our state and federalgovernment, have more power to decide what happens in ourcommunities than the people who live there. They are now comingtogether through the Washington Community Rights Network toorganize for local self-governance to elevate community rights overcorporate rights.” The Washington Community Rights Network is a special project of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.   TheLegal Defense Fund, headquartered in Mercersburg, PA, withoffices in Spokane, has been working with people and communities in Pennsylvania, across the United States, and internationally since 1995 to assert fundamental rights todemocratic local self-governance, recognize nature’s rights, and end destructive corporate actions aided and abetted by stateand federal governments.  ###
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