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What the Rights Based Ordinance (RBO) Does

The ordinance makes a fundamental change in the way our town handles state and federal regulatory procedures. It involves the claim that we have the right to a final say over what corporate infrastructure projects are located here. It is a very logical argument.


The way it is now


• Regulatory procedure does not recognize the town’s existing codes, policies, zoning rules and other local ordinances. This is called the doctrine of “preemption.”


• Preemption allows permits given by state or federal authorities to override local control.


• Example: Our town has a land use ordinance. All of us who live here have to respect it when we build, or try for a variance from our local Zoning Board if we want to get a variance. A corporation such as Cianbro does not have to respect our local land use ordinances once they receive a state permit.


The RBO does three major things to change the way it is now


• It claims the right of the citizens of our town to community self-government, based on the Maine Constitution’s guarantee of consent of the governed. In this way it challenges the doctrine of preemption because we assert our legal standing in regulatory matters. If we do not claim this right, we cannot challenge preemption.


• It declares that corporations shall not have the rights of persons under either the US or the Maine Constitution, and removes corporations’ power to use state or federal preemptive law, including eminent domain, in our town without our consent.


• It claims the right of the citizens of our town to determine our own future, rather than sacrificing parts of our town to infrastructure projects forced upon us by someone else.


How the ordinance works


• Declares a bill of rights including self-governance, the right to sustainable infrastructure projects, the right to use and enjoy land, the right to preserve the aesthetic values and environment of our town.


• It is based on the argument we reject the (Plunder Road/East-West Trespass/ E/W ______) project and any other future infrastructure projects that we expect will come along, on the basis of being unsustainable (unsupported by and unsupportive of the town) which is why sustainability is a focus of the ordinance.


• The way that our town works toward a more sustainable future is left for us to determine, through our own decision-making, to be approved by popular vote. The ordinance offers a sweeping definition of what can be considered “unsustainable.” It leaves it to us to determine what we will permit or not as we move toward a more sustainable future. For example, we could exclude roadways, pipelines and power lines that damage our natural beauty, which is included in the definition of unsustainable infrastructure systems in the ordinance.


• The key point here: THIS IS UP TO US, not an outside permitting authority.

for more information contact: Gail Darrell CELDF gail(at)celdf(dot)org 603.269.8542

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