Blaine Township, Pennsylvania

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Blaine Township is a township in Washington County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 597 at the 2000 census.

Contents

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 11.9 square miles (30.7 kmĀ²), all of it land. It is named after former United States Secretary of State and Republican candidate for the 1884 presidential election, James G. Blaine.

Regional coal mining

Longwall mining, a form of coal mining, has devastated the region surrounding Blaine Township. Longwall mining creates giant underground pits which has caused land to sag and homes to collapse in Washington County. Springs, wells, and creeks have dried up as aquifers have drained into cracks in the ground caused by mining activity.[1][2] Duke Lake, a 62-acre (250,000 m2) lake in Ryerson Station State Park, dried up after the nearby Bailey Mine extended its operations underneath the park and caused the dam to crack and release all the water.[3] Fresh water sources in the region have been contaminated by mining tailings leaking toxins into drinking water sources such as aquifers and creeks.[4]

Blaine Township ordinances

Citizens of Blaine Township have passed restrictive ordinances in 2006, 2007, and 2008 which ban coal mining, require businesses to publicly disclose activities, and assert that corporations do not have constitutional rights as 'persons' to sue a municipality for passing laws that would hurt corporate interests.

The township's Corporate Rights Ordinance of 2006 states, "This illegitimate bestowal of civil and political rights upon corporations prevents the administration of laws within Blaine Township and usurps basic human and constitutional rights guaranteed to the people of Blaine Township."[5]

Town supervisors, including Board Spokesman Michael Vacca, say they want to establish a principle of local self-government that will inspire other communities.[6]

Lawsuits

Currently, Blaine Township is in the midst of three legal battles. Citizens across the nation[citation needed] hope these lawsuits may ultimately determine that municipalities have the right to control corporate activities within their boundaries.

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