Global Exchange is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic, and environmentsl justice around the world.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 3, 2010

Contact: Ami Marcus, Mt. Shasta Community Rights Project: 949-554-4353
Shannon Biggs, Global Exchange: 415-298-9419

TECHNICAL GLITCH COULD DERAIL MT. SHASTA WATER RIGHTS LAW:
SHASTA CITY COUNCIL TO DECIDE TONIGHT

Mt. Shasta, California: This spring, Mt. Shasta voters petitioned in favor of Measure A, an ordinance that, if passed, would assert the community’s right to ban bulk water extraction and chemical cloud seeding within city limits. The City Council voted to send the measure to the ballot in November. But an unforeseen technical error may cause the measure to be dropped from the ballot; the City Council will decide tonight.

Jennifer Matthews of the Mt. Shasta Community Rights Project said, “Tonight the city has a choice to throw out the people’s initiative based on a technicality, or to remedy the situation and stand for the democratic process by keeping the ordinance on the ballot. Whether they agree with the ordinance or not, keeping it alive and sending it to a vote in November is the right thing to do.”

Two sentences in the draft ordinance submitted to the City Attorney for title and summary differed slightly from the version petitioned for by Mt. Shasta residents.

“Mt. Shasta voters are concerned that the technicality will be used as a pretext to pull the ordinance,” said Ami Marcus, a proponent of the ordinance. “This is about democracy, and about rights, and should be left to the voters to decide.”

Measure A would make it illegal for outside corporations to take Mt. Shasta’s water or to manipulate the weather. It would limit the power of outside corporations engaged in commercial water withdrawal or cloud seeding, by elevating the rights of the community above the rights of those corporations.

The rights-based ordinance is the first of its kind in California, but is modeled on similar laws in other states. If passed, it would provide the highest level of environmental protection within Mt. Shasta.

“There’s no way the Council could claim that there’s been harm to the voting process,” said Shannon Biggs, Director of the Community Rights Project at Global Exchange, a San Francisco-based advocacy group. “It was an accident discovered by the county clerk, and it could be easily remedied by the City Council. If a few members of the City Council choose to kill the ordinance based on an easily fixable clerical error, their decision is clearly a political one.”

The Mt. Shasta City Council will make their decision tonight at 5:00 P.M. at the main Upper Lodge at Mt. Shasta City Park, Many concerned city residents on both sides of the issue are expected to be in attendance.

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