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And then this happened…

Remember Harry Branch’s article last September about the fact that no one could argue for daylighting Moxlie Creek because they were not personally injured by the destruction of the creek—even though the creek couldn’t defend itself? In a special election recently, residents of Toledo, Ohio, adopted a bill of rights for a lake. A ballot measure will amend the city’s charter to establish that Lake Erie has the right to “exist, flourish, and naturally evolve,” giving legal rights to the source of drinking water for 11 million people. Toldeo’s move makes it the first municipality in the country to adopt a “rights-of-nature” law over an ecosystem. The action is already being challenged in court, but if it stands, it will allow citizens to sue polluters on the Great Lake’s behalf without having to demonstrate injury to a human. (Thanks to City Lab)


In the December 2018 WIP we reported that the city officials in Aberdeen had fenced in and locked up homeless folks living along the Chehalis River. First, a judge made the city open up the fence as a result of a lawsuit by Rev. Sarah Monroe. Now, the judge has awarded Monroe and two homeless advocates $18,000 in a judgment against the city. The money will be used for homeless services—but naturally it’s the city’s insurer, not the city officials who took the actions, who will provide the funds. (Thanks to Paul Peck for this.)


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