“Rights of Nature” views of William O. Douglas, Assoc. Justice, Supreme Court

Ohio Community Rights Board Member Bill Lyons presented to the Ohio House Finance Committee Written Testimony in Opposition to HB 166.  Bill’s arguments included a statement made by Assoc. U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.  Here is the specific quote:

“The critical question of “standing” would be simplified and also put neatly in focus if we fashioned a federal rule that allowed environmental issues to be litigated before federal agencies or federal courts in the name of the inanimate object about to be despoiled, defaced, or invaded by roads and bulldozers and where injury is the subject of public outrage. Contemporary public concern for protecting nature’s ecological equilibrium should lead to the conferral of standing upon environmental objects to sue for their own preservation.”  He further added, “The river, for example, is the living symbol of all the life it sustains or nourishes – fish, aquatic insects, otter, fisher, deer, elk, bear, and all other animals, including man, who are dependent on it or who enjoy it for its sight, its sound, or its life. The river as plaintiff speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it. Those people who have a meaningful relation to that body of water – whether it be a fisherman, a canoeist, a zoologist, or a logger – must be able to speak for the values which the river represents and which are threatened with destruction …”

 

 

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