We must oppose unjust laws

To the editor:

NEXUS is a fossil fuel infrastructure project enabling accelerated hydrofracking throughout our region. Shale gas extraction releases methane, an extremely potent heat-trapping gas. Fossil fuels as an energy source must stop. Infrastructure investments must be redirected into renewable energy. Oberlinians mostly know this.

But knowledge must partner with leadership. Council cannot act to protect residents only when there is no risk. Sal Talarico says the city is considering a lawsuit to stop the project and well it should. Laws that force corporate projects onto communities which put them at risk, oppose their moral direction, and interfere with plans for sustainable living are unjust laws. Unjust laws must be challenged and changed. History shows this is only accomplished through grassroots action. We must face this injustice in court using rights as the basis of our legal argument.

People before have challenged unjust laws — abolitionists, suffragists, and the civil rights movement. Oberlin loves to align itself with those who came before who challenged unjust laws. Oberlinians recognized the rights of African Americans and defied unjust laws such as the Fugitive Slave Laws. Oberlinians educated African Americans and women when others said they didn’t have the right to education.

We are now being told it is illegal for communities to live the sustainable life they envision. How will we react? Will we continue to follow the path forged by earlier brave Oberlinians by standing for what’s right and just? Or will we be content “pretending” to lead, afraid to confront this injustice? If it’s the latter, then we need to stop aligning ourselves with the truly brave people who came before. That is also an injustice.

Ellen Mavrich