What We've DONE
We formed Portage Community Rights Group to create a rights-based county charter by citizen initiative. From 2015 through 2018, we worked with CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) lawyers to craft a county charter that secured individual rights, rights of nature, and community rights to protect our health, safety, and the health and safety of our environment---ensuring that, we who live in Portage County, can elect a local government responsive to our needs. For several years, as "land men"circulated the county, buying mineral rights for fracking and waste injection wells, we investigated the potential harm of those industrial processes to our farmlands, homes, and health, and the laws allowing these harms, while the State Department of Natural Resources granted permits. We discovered that our local government has limited authority, and that authority is often preempted by state law.
So, we worked from 2014 to 2018 to change the law by changing Portage from a statutory county to a chartered one. Ohio counties were established as statutory counties; only two (Cuyahoga and Summit) have charters, which extent their authority to enact laws responsive to the people who live there.
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