Two Of Three North Country Towns Okay Ordinances To Fight Corporate Power - and Northern Pass

Mar 14, 2012

Two of three North Country towns yesterday approved an ordinance designed to fight the Northern Pass project by trying to strip corporations of their power.

Lancaster, Sugar Hill and Easton all had the same idea: An ordinance that would assert a town’s rights over those of corporations.

The idea is to prevent large corporations – such as those behind the Northern Pass project – from using the legal muscle given them by U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Another part of the ordinance says state and federal officials cannot overrule a town’s wishes.

The goal is to stop Northern Pass from crossing the towns with the huge towers carrying power from Canada.

Such ordinances are likely to be challenged in court and their advocates have acknowledged there is an uphill battle.  In a Pennsylvania case a federal judge ruled against the town's motion to dismiss saying there was no doubt that the Supreme Court had given corporations such legal rights. 

Nevertheless Sugar Hill and Easton unanimously approved, town clerks said.

Lancaster overwhelmingly rejected the ordinance. The vote was 233 against and 65 in favor.

The ordinances are part of a larger strategy by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund in Pennsylvania.

It hopes to bring enough attention to the issue of corporate power that people will demand changes in state and federal constitutions.