Community Rights

What are Community Rights?

The recognition of a right of local community self-government, including the right of local communities, to strengthen and expand rights protected by state and federal government.


For us in Lafayette and Boulder County, it’s the right to protect our environment, our community, our families and our lives. It’s the right to build a livable and sustainable community. It’s the right to say no to fracking.

Who is CELDF?

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is a law firm that helps communities advance Community Rights and the Rights of Nature.

How did we get to a position where we have no authority in the places where we live?  And what can we do about it?
CELDF answers these questions in the following video.
So Your Community Is Going to be Fracked -
CELDF's primer on rights-based organizing


  • Soon realized that we didn’t have a fracking/factory farm/mining/environmental problem; we have a democracy problem—a structure of law focused on endless growth, extraction, and development rather than on protecting people, workers, communities, and the environment.


  • Advised local activists who wrote Lafayette’s 2013 Community Bill of Rights, which established our right to a healthy environment and banned fracking as a violation of that right.


  • Worked with the first U.S. communities and the first country, Ecuador, to establish the rights of nature in law.


  • Helped close to two hundred communities in ten states to write and pass local bills of rights establishing the right to local community self-government and banning unwanted corporate projects.

As the oil and gas industry recently declared, CELDF’s community rights organizing “is the beginning of a social movement that is greater than just the oil and gas industry, it is a potential game changer for all of corporate America.”

To learn more on community rights:

CELDF's Director Speaks on KGNU Radio