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Community Rights

The Community Rights Network of Mendocino County is proud to announce the success of our signature gathering campaign placing Measure S on the November ballot banning the use of hydraulic fracturing for the extraction of hydrocarbons in Mendocino County. Using the knowledge and experience of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund and Global Exchange as well as melding the ideas of community rights from activist Paul Cienfuegos and a weekend of Democracy School, a group of politically minded individuals have created a Community Rights Network in Mendocino County.

The concept of community rights combines the spirit of the late nineteenth century Populist Movement with the age old and self-evident notion that local communities have a right to decide how important community issues are dealt with. This legal technique has been used by dozens of counties across the nation to prevent a variety of environmental and personal property damage often allowed under the current regulatory system.

First used in rural Pennsylvania to prevent the development of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, the idea of community rights has been applied to prevent hydraulic fracturing in Colorado, New Mexico and elsewhere.

Though both the California and United States Constitution contain language affirming that the right to govern is inherent in the individual, we have found a legal trend taking rights away from real flesh and blood people while granting more and more such “rights” to transnational corporations. These corporations have lobbied governments on the state and federal level in order to gain access to cheap resources while weakening personal property rights and emaciating environmental regulations. The result: catastrophic environmental and personal property damage with little recourse to legal protection. The Community Rights Network of Mendocino County is participating in a historic bipartisan effort to reverse that trend.

Though 180 community rights based ordinances are in place around the country, few have been taken to court. Believe it or not, the strength of the local majority has been used in many communities to take the power back from corporate and government largess and demand local, sustainable resource management.

We have chosen to promote a community rights based ordinance that will ban fracking in Mendocino County and will impose fines and jail time to those who try. Fracking corporations currently own drilling rights in the Eel River Basin. Each well requires millions of gallons of water mixed with a “confidential” slurry of chemicals designed to break up underlying rock formations. “Frackers” currently operate with an exemption from the 2004 Clean Water Act known as the “Halliburton loophole” as many toxic chemicals often seep into public waterways and private wells. Our community has a right to clean water. Ask yourself, “Who decides?” With a drought already limiting water supplies, we believe the time to act is now.

To find out more, how to help with our campaign, or for information about the next fundraiser in your area, go to or

Please support Measure S this November!


Doug McKenty

CRNMC Member

Resident of Elk

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