For its September meeting this Tuesday, Grafton Concerned Citizens will have guest speaker Thomas Linzey, attorney and co-founder of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. We contacted the defense fund last fall when Iberdrola announced its plan to construct a 37-turbine industrial wind project between Cardigan Mountain and Newfound Lake. At that time, no industrial wind developer had been denied a siting certificate, and the defense fund offered to help townsfolk draft a “community-rights-based ordinance.” Because the current regulatory process denies communities any say in major energy projects, we sought alternative ways to have an influence.
The ordinance, known as Grafton’s Right to a Sustainable Energy Future and Community Self-Government Ordinance, passed in March. Two of our three selectmen refuse to enforce it, claiming the town lawyer believes it will invite litigation. When reviewing the ordinance before the vote, the lawyer said it couldn’t be enforced because towns can’t “strip corporations of their constitutional protections.”
But that is precisely what the ordinance is about: The Constitution protects people’s rights, not corporations’.
The U.S. Constitution starts “We the people” not “We the corporations.” The Declaration of Independence refers to people 10 times, but never to corporations.
The New Hampshire Constitution states: “(A)ll government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good. (Article 1); “Government … should be open, accessible, accountable and responsive. (Article 8); and “(W)henever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government” (Article 10).
Therefore many would say that what the Grafton ordinance calls for is not only legal and enforceable, it is necessary.
Linzey will give about a 40-minute presentation, followed by questions. Free copies of the book he co-authored with Anneke Campbell, Be the Change, How to Get What You Want in Your Community, will be given to the first 50 attendees. The event, at Millbrook Christian Fellowship Church, starts at 6:30, and everyone from Grafton and surrounding communities concerned about industrial wind development is invited. For more information, email GraftonWindGroup@gmail.com or call 262-720-7261.
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