Husband and wife lawyer team, David and Helen Slottje founded Community Environmental Defense Council in 2009, shortly after they learned of the horrific dangers fracking was poised to unleash on upstate New York.
When they got started, the "conventional wisdom" was that fracking was an unfolding inevitable train wreck. Communities would be ravaged, but citizens were powerless to stop the damage.
Unwilling to stand by and watch this promised decimation of their community, the Slottjes offered a pioneering interpretation of New York law and argued that municipalities retained their "home rule" powers to ban unwelcome land uses (even if towns were prohibited from "regulating" the industry). While industry derided this approach, every court in New York that has considered the issue has upheld the rights of local governments to "just say no" to fracking.
Through CEDC, the Slottjes have provided thousands of hours of pro-bono legal representation to municipalities all across New York state that seek to protect their community's right to a safe and healthy environment.