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This is truly a grassroots effort, we couldn't get all this work done without the help of the many communities throughout Oregon. Click on the Community Tab above and learn more about the communities moving forward Community Bill of Rights.



Working at the State Level

The Right of Local Community Self-Government Constitutional Amendment would codify into law the right to local, community self-government, enabling local governments to protect fundamental rights and prohibit corporate activities that violate those rights.

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What are Community Rights?

Environmental rights, worker rights, rights of nature - what does this mean, and how does it work? Why do we need Community Rights? Learn more about why communities are taking things into their own hands! Find out More

Communities in Action

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The Oregon Community Rights Network is made up of community rights chapters and individuals. The chapters are local, independent community rights groups who have agreed to be part of the network. Each Chapter has a representative who sits on the Board of the ORCRN. These are currently active community rights chapters:

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Corporations have nearly endless money and resources. But the one thing they don’t have is the power of the people! That is why we need you to help build this movement!


ORCRN News

Community Rights at PIELC 2018

We’re excited to have two different community rights panels at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference this year!

Nature has Rights: The Right to Exist, Evolve, and Flourish

Sunday, March 4th, 9:00 am to 10:15 am
Many Nations Longhouse
Sponsored by Community Rights Lane County and Oregon Community Rights Network
Does a wolf have a right to survive because it runs, breathes, and values its family (the pack)? Does a forest have a right to exist, thrive, and flourish solely because it is a living entity? Does nature have rights? According to our political and legal systems, it does not.
Laws and governments were not designed to recognize or respect the natural world. Rather they define it as property to be extracted and consumed for profit. That is at the heart of the damage being done to our planet, and until it changes, any idea of protecting Mother Earth is an illusion.
Fortunately, Rights of Nature are starting to be acknowledged and enacted as law. From Ecuador to the United States, to Nepal, and New Zealand; Tribal nations, communities, activists, indigenous peoples, and governments throughout the world are advancing Rights of Nature initiatives.
This panel will talk about the Rights of Nature and what’s being done to get our political and economic systems to recognize them.
Panelists:

Mari will focus on Rights of Nature (RoN) from a global/international level. She will explain why RoN is needed, and what efforts have been taking place globally to make it a reality. This will include laws and legal challenges.

Craig will also discuss Rights of Nature (RoN) from an international/global perspective. He will describe the patterns that can be observed from looking at what has been successful and what has not. This can be used as a guide to enable Rights of Nature locally and globally.

John will discuss Rights of Nature (RoN) from a local perspective. He will describe what is being done in Lane Co, throughout the state of Oregon, and elsewhere. And how this relates to the global efforts.

The art of chemical warfare: Oregon community democracy vs. industrial timber and state government in the battle to end aerial spraying 

Friday, March 2 – 3:50 p.m.-5:05 p.m.
Law room 142.
Sponsored by Community Rights Lane County

The aerial spraying of toxic pesticides is part of Oregon’s logging legacy. This panel will discuss the challenges communities have faced in their efforts to protect people and ecosystems from aerial spraying, as well as the state’s role in providing legal protection.

From Carol Van Strum’s efforts against the federal government in the 80s and the widespread corruption in the EPA, to the community rights movement of the last five years, the panel will discuss the ups and downs of the battle to abolish aerial spraying. Panelists will highlight the lengths that corporations and government have taken to stop local democracy.

Panelists:

  • Rio Davidson – Lincoln County Community Rights
  • TBA member of Community Rights Lane County
  • Evaggelos Vallianatos EPA whistle blower and author of Poison Spring
  • Carol Van Strum author of Bitter Fog and chief person behind the Poison Papers

Coos Bay Estuary Informs FERC that Terminal and Pipeline Would Violate Its Rights

October 26, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Mary Geddry – 541-551-1492

[email protected]

Coos Bay

BANDON, OR – Yesterday evening the Coos Bay Estuary filed a motion to intervene in the FERC proceedings to permit Jordan Cove Energy Partners an export terminal at Jordan Cove along with the accompanying Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline.

 

In the intervention filing, submitted by Coos Commons Protection Council on behalf of the estuary, the estuary describes itself as, “an ecosystem made up of a deeply diverse and interdependent community of birds, aquatic plants, fish, shellfish, oysters, insects, and humans.  For millions of years I have served as what your EPA considers a nursery of the sea where salmon and waterfowl breed and oysters filter out sediments and pollutants from the watersheds that feed me. Waters made clean and healthy from the work of natural communities connected to me, help to feed marine life in the ocean.” The estuary finishes its comments to FERC by saying, “The authorization of this project would be unlawful, unethical, poisonous and destructive.”

The full text of the Coos Bay Estuary intervention can be found here:

The main point made by the estuary is to remind the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) that nature has rights and that human activity, especially corporate fossil fuel activity, has been in violation of the rights of nature. The claim is not merely a statement of right but one of which has been increasingly recognized as legally to be protected:

  • In 2008, the country of Ecuador amended its national constitution to establish the rights of ecosystems within the country to exist, regenerate, evolve, and be restored.
  • On July 27, 2014, Te Urewera, an 821-square mile area of New Zealand, was designated as a legal entity with “[A]ll the rights, powers, duties and liabilities of a legal person.”
  • In November of 2016, Colombia’s Constitutional Court found that the Atrato River, including its tributaries and watershed, is “an entity subject to rights to protection, conservation, maintenance and restoration.”

that human populations are those that are interdependent on the natural world – not the other way around- and that they must assume the consequences of their actions and omissions in relation to nature. It’s about understanding this new socio-political reality with the aim of achieving a respectful transformation with the natural world and its environment, just as has happened before with civil and political rights…economic, social and cultural rights…and environmental rights…Const. Ct. of Colombia

  • On March 20, 2017, the High Court of Uttarakhand at Nainital, in the State of Uttarakhand in northern India, issued a ruling declaring that the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers are “legal persons/living persons.”
  • In September 2017 a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Colorado River against the State of Colorado for violating its rights due to pollution, climate change, and excessive water withdrawal.
  • Over three dozen municipalities within the United States, including the City of Pittsburgh, have adopted municipal laws recognizing the legally enforceable rights of ecosystems and nature, and the authority of municipal residents to bring suits in the name of individual ecosystems

More countries and municipalities are working towards securing nature’s right to exist, persist, flourish, and naturally evolve, which not only brings with it the right of legal standing, but also the full effect of the law to defend rights before the courts when violations occur.

“For millions of years the Coos Bay Estuary has provided habitat, food and shelter to the Southern Oregon coast,” said Mary Geddry. “The estuary deserves the same standing in these proceedings as inanimate objects like corporations.”

This filing precipitates the first US Rights of Nature Symposium being held at Tulane University School of Law, New Orleans, LA. The symposium brings together key leaders in the Rights of Nature movement – from Ecuador, Nepal, the United States, and other countries, as well as from local communities and tribal nations. The symposium’s promotion says this about the event, “Communities, people, and even governments are recognizing that there is a need to make a fundamental shift in humankind’s relationship with the natural world by placing the highest protections on nature through the recognition of legal rights.”

More information about the symposium and access to the live stream found here: https://celdf.org/rights-nature-symposium/

 

 

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Right to Ban Aerial Spraying Passes in Lincoln County

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Mary Geddry

[email protected]

541-551-1492

Voters in Lincoln County have adopted Measure 21-177 by 61 votes. The delay in the final ballot count came as voters who had not signed their ballots were given the opportunity to sign. Voters had until 5pm this evening to make their ballots official with a signature. The vote count at the end of election night had the measure passing by 27 votes.

“It’s been over thirty years since aerial spraying of pesticides have been poisoning our county, so waiting a few more days to confirm that the people of Lincoln County are ready to put that toxic legacy in the past has been well worth it”, says Rio Davidson of Citizens of a Healthy County. “Our right to a healthy environment is key to our quality of life and livelihoods and the people in Lincoln County are done with the timber industry sacrificing our future.”

Measure 21-177 prohibits the aerial spray of pesticides in-order to secure the right to clean air, water, and the overall right to health of people and ecosystems. The common practice of the industrial timber industry is to aerial-spray toxic pesticides (1 to 2 applications yearly for the first 3 to 5 years of growth) on clear-cuts to kill off vegetation “competing” with the growth of newly planted and young commodity crop trees.

“A line has been drawn in the sand by the people of Lincoln County that says our right to decide on protecting our right to clean water, personal health, and protection for ecosystems is more important than allowing a corporate agenda to continue to cause harm to the community.”, says Nancy Ward, board member of the Oregon Community Rights Network (ORCRN).

Despite the affirmative vote of the people of Lincoln County in saying yes to Measure 21-177, Citizens for a Healthy County and the ORCRN are anticipating that the timber industry or supporters of the timber industry will not honor the new law prohibiting aerial spraying and will file a lawsuit to block or overturn the law. Such a lawsuit will pit the right of a community self-government authority to protect health, safety, and welfare against corporate activities that threaten or harm the community’s rights.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

To learn more about Measure 21-177 go to www.yes-on-21-177.org.