Blaine Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania
|Blaine Township, Pennsylvania|
Sawhill Covered Bridge
National Register of Historic Places
|Named for: James G. Blaine|
|Area||11.9 sq mi (31 km2)|
|Density||50.4 / sq mi (19 / km2)|
|- summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-5)|
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 11.9 square miles (31 km2), 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. 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. Fresh water sources in the region have been contaminated by mining tailings leaking toxins into drinking water sources such as aquifers and creeks.
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."
Town supervisors, including Board Spokesman Michael Vacca, say they want to establish a principle of local self-government that will inspire other communities.
Currently, Blaine Township is in the midst of three legal battles. Citizens across the nation hope these lawsuits may ultimately determine that municipalities have the right to control corporate activities within their boundaries.
The three lawsuits include Range Resources, a natural gas company which is asking the courts to invalidate the township's policy that all businesses must disclose their activities; Penn Ridge Coal LL and Allegheny Pittsburgh Coal Co. claim that Blaine's laws violate their corporate rights to mine coal in the township. The latter two companies are asking Judge Donetta Ambrose of the Western District of Pennsylvania to declare Blaine's ordinances invalid and unenforceable.
Tom Linzey of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is Blaine Township's lawyer. CELDF has been working for free to empower local communities across to the country, including assisting Spokane, Washington to put on the 2009 ballot a city Bill of Rights which includes the rights to have access to good health care, clean water, and a clean environment.
As of the census of 2000, there were 597 people, 217 households, and 172 families residing in the township. The population density was 50.4 people per square mile (19.5/km²). There were 223 housing units at an average density of 18.8/sq mi (7.3/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 98.32% White, 0.17% Asian, 0.17% from other races, and 1.34% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.34% of the population.
There were 217 households out of which 39.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 71.9% were married couples living together, 6.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.3% were non-families. 19.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the township the population was spread out with 28.1% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 28.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 103.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.5 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $37,941, and the median income for a family was $39,926. Males had a median income of $32,115 versus $18,750 for females. The per capita income for the township was $15,167. About 5.1% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.0% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- Lombardi, Kristen; Sarah Laskow (January 12, 2009). "The Big Seep". Center for Public Integrity. pp. 3–17. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
- Frederick, Mark (October 22, 2004). "Notes of Field Investigtion at Trib 32596, Bailey Mine CMAP, 30841316, Richhill Township, Greene County". Pennsylavania Department of Environmental Protection. Pennsylvania Public Records. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
- Hopey, Don (1 February 2008). "Pennsylvania says mining destroyed lake dam in park". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
- Scharding-Taras, Chelsea (10 April 2007). "Analytical Report for Mining and Reclamation Sample ID: 4622 014, Washington County". Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Laboratories. Pennsylvania Public Record. pp. 1–4. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
- Second Class Township of Blaine Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania (2006). "Blaine Township Corporate Rights Ordinance: Eliminating Legal Powers and Privileges from Corporations Doing Business Within Blaine Township to Vindicate the Right to Democratic Self-Governance". Washington County Public Record. Retrieved 2009-08-11.[dead link]
- Hurdle, Jon (June 15, 2009). "Pennsylvania town fights big coal on mining rights". Thomson Reuters. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.