The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michelle Sanborn
Community Organizer 

Corporation Demands $40,281.50 From Town For Passing Climate Ordinance

The judge has suggested residents could crowdfund to cover costs.


As climate change brings suffering across the globe, New Hampshire Judge Martin Honigberg has sided with a local corporate actor seeking financial retribution against the Town of Nottingham for the popular adoption of an ordinance recognizing a right of townspeople to a "climate system capable of sustaining human societies." On September 1, 2021 the lawyer representing Plaintiffs Brent Tweed and his corporate shield, G&F Goods, LLC, submitted a $40,281.50 bill to the court for attorney fees.

The Freedom from Chemical Trespass Ordinance was popularly adopted by residents at their 2019 town hall meeting in response to threats to freshwater systems and climate disruption. It secured rights of ecosystems "to naturally exist, flourish, regenerate, evolve, and be restored" and also banned corporate activities that infringe those rights.

G&F Goods, LLC filed a lawsuit against the unenforced Ordinance, arguing it unconstitutionally discriminates against polluting corporations. The Town agreed with all substantive propositions in the complaint, and the court overturned the popular Ordinance on the basis of the lawsuit being unopposed. (Residents behind the measure were denied intervention into the case but filed an amicus curiae.) A June 4, 2021 court ruling allowed the corporation to bill the Town for attorney fees. The Plaintiffs' lawyer is now asking the Town to pay for time the Plaintiffs spent responding to the amicus curiae, despite the legal impossibility of the court ruling on the basis of arguments brought solely by a non-party.

"Punishing Town voters and taxpayers for taking a stand to combat climate change on the local level is not what we need right now. The courts and the corporation should be ashamed of themselves," says CELDF Community Organizer Michelle Sanborn.

Court documents are available upon request.

For further context, read the CELDF report: "Corporations Are Suing Cities Across the USA."

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is helping build a decolonial movement for Community Rights and the Rights of Nature to advance democratic, economic, social, and environmental rights-building upward from the grassroots to the state, federal, and international levels.

(717) 498-0054