Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF)
November 1, 2005


Laws Against Corporate farms withstand Agribusiness Challenge

A County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania (the 39th Judicial
District -- Franklin/Fulton County region) -- has upheld the "anti-
corporate farming" law that has been adopted by a dozen Township
governments in five Counties across Pennsylvania.

Judge John Walker, the President Judge of the 39th Judicial District,
has issued an opinion that dismisses the summary judgment motion that
had been filed by agribusiness interests, asking the court to overturn
the "anti-corporate farming" law and the "three strikes and you're
out" Ordinance that had been adopted by the Belfast Township, Fulton
County Board of Supervisors in 2000.

In his ruling, Judge Walker specifically dismissed the agribusiness
Plaintiffs' arguments that

(1) the Ordinance was void because the Township lacked the authority
to adopt the Ordinance under the Second Class Township Code (authority
delegated to Township governments by the State),

(2) the Ordinance was void because it was preempted by State laws
governing factory farms or farming, and

(3) the Ordinance was void under the dormant Commerce Clause.

In doing so, Judge Walker has dismissed all of the preliminary
challenges against the anti-corporate farming Ordinance and the "three
strikes and you're out" Ordinance. The case will now proceed to trial.

The case is known as Leese v. Belfast Township, Civ. No. 304 of 2001-C
(Fulton County 2001).