Dr. J. Stephen Cleghorn, owner of a 50-acre organic farm in Pennsylvania, and Ben Price, projects director for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, on Nov. 14, 2012, announced that Cleghorn had become the first landowner in the United States to use a conservation easement to recognize and protect the rights of water, forest and wild ecosystems.

The easement bans activities, like hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which would violate those rights, and elevates the rights of nature above the power claimed by extractive energy corporations to despoil the environment.

Over the last six months, Cleghorn worked with the CELDF, a nonprofit, Pennsylvania-based law firm, to create an easement that secures the rights of nature legally on the property. On Nov. 14, Cleghorn and Price held a press conference on Cleghorn's farm to discuss the conservation easement.

To view a full copy of easement, known as “The Dr. Lucinda Hart Gonzalez Conservation Easement,” visit Stephen Cleghorn’s blog, Anger and Courage at angerandcourage.wordpress.com. For more information about the CELDF, visit its website at celdf.org.

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