Victory for Free Speech in Sanford, NY

The residents of Sanford, NY claimed a victory when their Town Board passed a resolution rescinding a seven-month-old gag order on citizens’ ability to talk about fracking.  As a result, the people of Sanford will no longer be silenced.

Last September 11th, following a pattern of decidedly pro-fracking actions, the Sanford Town Board abruptly passed a resolution that eliminated town residents’ ability to speak about fracking.  A clear violation of basic free speech protections, NRDC (as part of our Community Fracking Defense Project) and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy stepped in to stand up for the constitutional rights of the people of Sanford.

With its action, the Town Board has rightly recognized the validity of residents’ concerns about this controversial heavy industrial activity moving into their backyards, and the need for their local representatives to hear them.  This is especially important in light of the board’s history of support for fracking.  This is a vindication of the right to free speech.  And it sends a message to communities everywhere.  As Americans, we have the right to speak up when we feel threatened.  And it is our government’s responsibility to listen.

About the Authors

Kate Sinding

Senior Adviser to the President

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