The Toledo Blade reports that Toledo and officials from Lucas County, Maumee, Perrysburg, Sylvania, Whitehouse, Fulton County, Monroe County, and the Northwest Water and Sewer District agreed it is time to bring the water supply contracts recently developed to their respective city councils for a vote.
Here is the latest information on the status of the court arguments in the lawsuit attempting to silence Lake Erie’s voice. The important points are:
- Drewes Farms, which brought the lawsuit against LEBOR, does not own land in the city of Toledo (and does not own the land it farms).
- The City of Toledo and its residents have been injured by the state’s inability to prevent contamination of their drinking water.
- LEBOR will provide additional protections to the Lake above what the state has been attempting.
This article summarizes the conditions under which we live. Tish O’Dell clearly reveals the struggle between the people who rely on their environment for their very existence and the profiteering corporate “persons” who survive only on greed. But more importantly, this article shows how our government (once thought to be of-for-and-by the people) has become mired in the same greed as the corporations whose money feeds it.
The United Nations was the scene for a short talk by Markie Miller of Toledoans for Safe Water and Ohio Community Rights Network. She praised the people of Toledo for recognizing the vulnerability of their water source and taking steps to protect it.
Here is a Press Release from Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) explaining the latest developments as the State of Ohio fights to protect the rights of corporations (with personhood rights) over the rights of the real people in Toledo who attempted to protect their water source. Ohio claims to be defending its title as “proprietor in trust to the waters of Lake Erie” and must allow the corporate persons to engage in unlawful operations.
The Ohio Legislature’s recently passed budget bill (see other blogs this website) included an amendment that prohibits anyone, including local governments, from enforcing recognized legal rights for ecosystems. In their great wisdom, the “people’s” representatives proclaimed that nature has no rights. In doing that, they proclaim that “we the people” do not have the right to exist, because our very existence is tied to that of nature.
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 …”
Many are undecided about whether nature has rights. The Ohio Legislature seems to have made up its mind and therefor we have no voice in the discussion. This Cleveland Plain Dealer article describes HB 166 dealing with the budget. An amendment has been added declaring no one can file a lawsuit in a state court on behalf of “nature or any ecosystem.” If passed, that would nullify Toledo’s Lake Erie Bill of Rights, which allows city residents to sue on behalf of the lake to, among other things, curb farmers’ agricultural runoff that helps promote toxic algal blooms.
Whatever one personally believes about the rights of nature, the voice of the people should be heard on this matter, not the dictates of a “bought-by-corporate-money-and-influence-legislature.”