The National Community Rights Network
Empowering the Rights of Communities!
Recognizing the Rights of Nature!
NCRN Board of Directors
Susie Beiersdorfer, Ohio
Susie is a teacher, geologist and tree planter who lives in Youngstown, Ohio. She grew up around and worked in the California oil and gas fields until the mid-1980s. Since 2011, Susie, along with other members of Frackfree Mahoning Valley, have jumped through most of the hoops with “officials”, trying to expose both environmental pollution and corporate pollution caused by extreme unconventional extraction of fossil fuels. Now knowing that the governmental system is rigged to put corporate profit over the unalienable rights of people and nature, Susie is an outspoken advocate for Community Rights and represents Mahoning County for the Ohio Community Rights Network (OHCRN). She serves as Secretary for the OHCRN.
OHCRN recently published the book Death By Democracy - Protecting Water and Life: Frontline Stories from Ohioans Fighting Corporate and State Power. The book is a collection of stories told by grassroots activists across the state. Each story details the efforts of community-led ballot initiatives that challenge the corporate power structures entrenched in our allegedly democratic system. These epic tales highlight courageous communities that step up to say 'no' to legalized harms, such as fracking, industrialized agriculture, pipelines, and water privatization. They discover the limits of local democracy and challenge the very doctrines our legal and political structures were built upon.
Susie’s town, Youngstown, has had a Community Bill of Rights on the ballot 8 times and the group's motto remains, “We don’t lose until we quit.”
Dr. Tom Groover, Colorado
Tom is Vice President of National Community Rights Network (NCRN), Director of Colorado Community Rights Network (COCRN) and past Secretary of East Boulder County United.
The people and natural environment of Boulder County, Colorado were threatened by the imminent expiration of the Boulder County Government’s fracking moratorium. The oil and gas industry had planned the drilling of 1,800 new fracking wells to be located within Boulder County neighborhoods. On behalf of COCRN and with the help of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), Tom led the planning and establishment of the Boulder County Community Rights Network (BCCRN). These two organizations then launched their 2014 Boulder County Colorado initiative to adopt a home rule charter which would include a Community Bill of Rights for Banning Fracking.
Tom also served as Secretary of the Board of Directors for East Boulder County United (EBCU). With CELDF’s help, EBCU wrote the Lafayette, Colorado Community Bill of Rights for Banning Fracking and drove this initiative through petitioning, ballot access, voter approval and adoption into law. EBCU also worked with CELDF to defend this Bill of Rights against its inevitable preemption by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and the State of Colorado.
Dr. Groover was a director of Coloradans for Community Rights, a political action committee which, with legal support from CELDF, enacted two Colorado initiatives for adding an amendment to the Colorado Constitution which would legalize local community self-government. This amendment would allow the people within communities who are affected by the harms of fracking and other harmful corporate projects to enact and enforce their own laws to protect themselves and Nature from such harms.
The political pressure exerted by these local and state community rights actions contributed to further extension of Boulder County’s fracking moratorium and the Colorado Legislature's enactment of a 2,000-foot setback rule for permitting new fracking wells in Colorado.
Dr. Groover is Director of Boulder Chiropractic Clinic and lives with his wife Karen in Superior, Colorado.
Doug Darrell, New Hampshire
Living in Barnstead, New Hampshire the past 38 years, Doug is a homesteader, piano technician, and harp and musical instrument builder. With wife Gail E. Oakes, he raised 4 homeschooled children and since 2005 has worked with Gail on Rights-Based Ordinances (RBO), Rights of Local Self Government (RLSG) and Rights of Nature. In 2006, they pioneered the first RBO to protect their community and aquifer from large private corporate commercial extraction and also worked on prohibitions of sewage sludge applications. This RBO was amended in 2008 to include Rights of Nature. More recently, Doug, as part of the New Hampshire Community Rights Network (NHCRN), has helped to create and bring to their state legislators a State and Federal Constitutional Amendment for RLSG while also addressing the Rights of Nature. The NHCRN works to educate communities on the fact that it is the personal responsibility of everyone to make and enforce just and local changes for a sustainable future.
Nancy Ward, Oregon
Nancy Ward is Secretary for the Oregon Community Rights Network. Nancy became interested in Community Rights when crude oil trains threatened local safety. Finding no assistance through either public servants or conventional activism she turned to self-governance as directed and supported by the Community Rights Network. She's never looked back.
Heidi Berthoud, Virginia
Heidi Berthoud has lived in the extended community of Satchidananda Ashram, Yogaville in Buckingham, Virginia since the early 1990’s. She is a founding member and Secretary of Friends of Buckingham, formed to oppose the proposed interstate fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline in 2014. Founding Buckingham: We the People in 2017 with Mindy, and Hanuman was a beacon of light in the ecocide darkness. Rooted in deep ecology, she thrives by living close to the land. She is a yoga and massage therapist and retired dental hygienist.