Lawyer hopes to form environmental coalition

February 11, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

Lawyer hopes to form environmental coalition

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The founder of an environmental advocacy group said Wednesday he's trying to form a coalition of similar interest groups operating in Franklin County.

Tom Linzey, a Shippensburg, Pa., attorney and creator three years ago of the nonprofit Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, said he met last month with about 15 representatives from groups he's hoping to recruit for his coalition.

Linzey, 28, lives in Southhampton Township.

He declined to name specific groups that he's trying to recruit. "I can't do that until they sign on," he said.


Organizations he has his sights on include the Greene/Guilford Environmental Association; the Student Environmental Action Coalition at Shippensburg University; Antrim Residents Against Garbage, a Greencastle, Pa., area group; the Unity Coalition, a Chambersburg, Pa., area civil rights group; and the Fair Tax Coalition in Scotland, Pa.

Eventually, Linzey said, he wants to sign up mainstream organizations for the coalition, including community-based groups like Ruritan clubs, citizens' action groups, local planning commissions, sportsmen's groups, even small businesses.

The coalition could also get involved in the political process by encouraging environmentally friendly candidates to run for public office.

"We now have a good ole boy network that is running rampant. They've been in office for 20 or 30 years," he said.

"What we're trying to do is to create a political power in Franklin County that will show government officials that people here really care about these things," Linzey said.

He said the coalition, once established, could speak with one voice to encourage proposals for open space and farmland preservation, promote recycling and renewable energy like solar energy and encourage energy conservation in general.

He said his newest goal is to sign up focus groups in the southern reaches of Franklin County, including Waynesboro.

The coalition meets again at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 in Room 204 in Warfield Hall at Wilson College in Chambersburg. Anyone interested can call Linzey at 1-717-530-0931.

Linzey, a native of Alabama, lived in Virginia and Vermont before moving to Franklin County near Shippensburg. A graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, he earned his law degree at Widener Law School in Harrisburg, Pa.

Since graduation he founded and runs the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

The fund operates on an annual budget of about $70,000. The only paid employees are Linzey and Ian Kramer, 20, a student intern.

The fund files lawsuits against industries that violate state environmental regulations, represents environmental groups and individuals in legal matters at no cost.

It also maintains a small network of lawyers around the country to litigate environmental issues, he said.

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