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VIRGINIA TOWN BANS TOXIC TRESPASS

Submitted by Al Taylor

On February 7, 2008, the Halifax Town Council unanimously approved an ordinance banning "chemical and radioactive bodily trespass." The action, prompted by concerns over a proposed uranium mine, prohibits corporations from interfering with the civil rights of the residents -- including their right to self-government. The ordinance was drafted by the nonprofit Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. According to CELDF Projects Director Ben Price, Halifax residents "have determined that they do not consent to be irradiated, nor to be trespassed upon, by toxic substances that would be released by Virginia Uranium, Inc., or any other state-chartered corporation." Halifax is the tenth U.S. municipality to refuse to recognize corporate "rights" that are often used to exploit human and natural communities. These ordinances are directed at "chartered immunities" designed to "deny citizens' rights, impose harm, and refuse local self-determination." "This is an historic vote," said Halifax Town Councilmember Jack Dunavant, "It's time to invoke the Constitution and acknowledge the power of the people to protect our own destiny and end this era of corporate greed and pollution."