Community Rights Organizer Sets Sights on Fracking in Southern Illinois

by: Posted on: November 08, 2013

By Natalie Long,

(October 18, 2013) Due to the outcry of communities in southern Illinois, the region has a new resource in the fight against fracking. This October, southern Illinois welcomed Natalie Long as its new Community Rights Organizer in the fight to protect the rights, health, safety and welfare of communities.  A native of southern Illinois, Natalie recently worked with villagers in Mexico organizing against corporations that caused arsenic and fluoride contamination of local water sources.  Natalie is excited to be back home, and to work with local communities seeking to protect their homes and families against fracking.

As a Community Rights Organizer, Natalie will connect communities in southern Illinois to the experienced team at the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF).  Since 1995, CELDF has helped communities fight destructive corporate activity such as fracking.  Over the years, CELDF has seen towns regularly denied their right to decide if activities like fracking happen in their communities.  Citizens are routinely told that only the state, or corporations, can make that decision for their hometowns.  For people in those communities, however, this answer is usually unacceptable; townspeople are, after all, the ones who will have to live with the destructive consequences that fracking brings.

To protect local communities, Natalie and CELDF will work to create what are known as “Community Bills of Rights.”  A Community Bill of Rights is a document that is passed as a local ordinance or charter amendment in a town or county.  The Community Bill of Rights legally recognizes fundamental rights of communities – including, but not limited to, the right to clean air, the right to clean water, and the right to local self-governance.  The Community Bill of Rights prohibits any activities that violates those rights; in our case in southern Illinois, fracking.

But this kind of protection only happens if you act.  If you want to learn more about creating a Community Bill of Rights for your town or county, please contact Natalie.  She can be reached at 618-334-0033, or email her at


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