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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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Lincoln County will have to wait for a decision on the legality of Measure 21-177

Originally posted on lincolncountycommunityrights.org :

 

 

 

 

Kboo Radio Story around the Court Hearing on OCT. 9th

KLCC Story
Capital Press Story
Capital Press: http://ift.tt/2yALCa7

Lincoln County will have to wait for a decision on the legality of Measure 21-177

October 11, 2017

Contact:

Media Contacts
Maria Sause Rio Davidson
[email protected] [email protected]
541 574 2961; cell 541 961 6385 cell 541 961 5606

Newport, Oregon: On Monday, October 9th, Judge Sheryl Bachart heard from the parties in the lawsuit Rex Capri and Wakefield Farms, LLC vs. Dana W. Jenkins and Lincoln County, and intervenor-defendants Lincoln County Community Rights. The lawsuit was filed in response to the ban on aerial pesticide spraying imposed by the vote of the people on May 16, 2017. During yesterday’s hearing, and after delivering their arguments, the parties asked for a Summary Judgment from Judge Backart in a courtroom packed by attending public.

Lincoln County Community Rights, Intervenor-defendants, held a rally at the intersection of Highway 101 and Highway 20. LCCR was supported by a crowd of over 30 people, who waved signs at passing vehicles calling out the issues that motivated Measure 21-177, among them the harm done by aerial pesticide spraying to people and ecosystems, the injustice of laws drafted by corporations for approval by our legislature which make it illegal for the people to protect their health and safety more stringently than the state’s regulations allow. This is known as State preemption. “Preemption laws are emblematic of the “top-down” hierarchical, authoritarian control preferred by corporations. Rather than have to contend with thousands of town and counties, the corporations need only seduce state and federal legislators who are always on the prowl for campaign cash,” said LCCR member John Colman-Pinning. LCCR members also called for better protection of our ecosystems and for recognition of the Rights of Nature. Honking horns saluted the sign waivers.

Attorney for Plaintiffs, Gregory A. Chaimov, argued for full annulment of Measure 21-177, on the grounds that it is preempted by state legislation, which declares that pesticide regulation is the exclusive province of the state and are more powerful than the right of the people to make law that advances greater protections for health and safety.

Lincoln County, represented by County Counsel Wayne Belmont, although defending only a small portion of the ban on aerial pesticide spraying as applying to county property and to land located within urban growth boundaries, did say that the people’s right to bring new law forward through the initiative process needs to be protected. In his argument, Wayne Belmont favored salvaging portions of Measure 21-177 and asked for advice from the judge in doing that. The judge can comment on the ordinance, but cannot add language to it or subtract language from it.

Attorney for Intervenor-Defendants Lincoln County Community Rights, Ann Kneeland, raised the argument to the high moral ground where it belongs by bringing in the language of the Declaration of Independence (recognized as an organic law of the United States and part of the United States Code), and of Section 1, Article 1 of the Constitution of the State of Oregon. Both documents refer to the people’s inherent right to local community self-government in matters that pertain to their fundamental rights, listed in each. They also refer to the government power that is inherent to the people, and to their right to change that government when it fails to protect their fundamental rights. She also referred to the power to influence legislation which corporations have acquired through the Supreme Court ruling that “money is speech”, exposing where our government is failing us by allowing our legislatures to be influenced by the profit interests of corporations, although there is no law that states that they can do this.

Judge Bachart did not issue a final ruling on the lawsuit questioning the legality of Measure 21-177 and will take the time she needs to review all arguments and reach her decision. That time may or may not come until the beginning of next year. To see all of the filed court documents please visit http://ift.tt/2xS3oSJ.

ABOUT LINCOLN COUNTY COMMUNITY RIGHTS
Lincoln County Community Rights is a public benefit organization that seeks to educate and empower people to exercise their right of local community self-government in matters that pertain to their fundamental rights, their natural environment, their quality of life, their health and their safety. Given the harms that people and ecosystems suffer from the practice of aerial spraying of industrial forest land with pesticides, the group drafted an ordinance to ban aerial pesticide spraying in Lincoln County, Oregon. Measure 21-177 was adopted by voters in May 2017, making Lincoln County the first county in the United States to ban aerial pesticide spraying through the vote of the people. http://ift.tt/1QBRYoT

Press info

 

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Today in Lincoln County Court Hearing on October 9th to look at Lincoln County’s measure 21-177 a ban on aerial spraying of pesticides

Originally posted on lincolncountycommunityrights.org :

Today in Lincoln County Court

Hearing on October 9th to look at Lincoln County’s measure 21-177 a ban on aerial spraying of pesticides

October 9, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Maria Sause

[email protected]

541.574.2981 541.961.6385

Rio Davidson

[email protected]
541.9615606

Newport, Oregon: On the morning of October 9th, Judge Sheryl Bachart will hear from parties in the lawsuit Rex Capri and Wakefield Farms, LLC vs. Dana W. Jenkins and Lincoln County, and intervenor-defendants Lincoln County Community Rights. The lawsuit was filed in response to the people’s affirmative vote to ban aerial spraying of pesticides in Lincoln County on May 16, 2017. The ballot measure, Measure 21-177, has been law in Lincoln County since early June, and no documented aerial spraying has occurred since then.

In their original complaint and associated briefs, plaintiffs Rex Capri of Newport and Wakefield Farms LLC of Eddyville claim that the county’s ban on aerial spraying of pesticides is overridden by state preemption laws. If that claim is upheld, it would mean that the authority of corporations to engage in aerial pesticide spraying for profit is held to be superior to the right of the people of Lincoln County to ban such spraying due to its documented harms to public health and the environment.

The most recent evidence of the toxic effect of pesticides came to light a month or so ago when it finally became possible to release an extensive collection of documents, now referred to as the Poison Papers (www.poisonpapers.org). The documents had been stored for several decades by Lincoln County resident Carol Van Strum, a key figure in getting the government to stop aerial pesticide spraying on federal forests in Lincoln County back in the 1980’s.

The plaintiffs claim additionally that the measure should never have been voted on in the first place because the county lacked the authority to even pose the question of an aerial spray ban to the voters of Lincoln County.

“Do we, as a community, have the right to determine to protect ourselves, our children, and our environment from a clear harm like the spraying of pesticides from aircraft into the atmosphere?” asks John Colman-Pinning, long-time Lincoln County resident and activist with intervenor-defendants Lincoln County Community Rights. “We wholeheartedly believe we do have that right and that is what the court must affirm as a legitimate right.”

In defending the authority of Lincoln County voters to enact the ban, Lincoln County Community Rights (LCCR) will be asserting the people’s right of local community self-government. LCCR will argue that, based on their inherent and inalienable right to self-govern, the people of Lincoln County have lawfully enacted local rights to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the County’s residents and environment more stringently than the state is willing to protect them. The voters’ approval of Measure 21-177 also protects the community’s rights to clean air and water. Additionally, LCCR argues that, even under the state’s laws, the ordinance is lawful because local laws are presumed to be valid except where the law conflicts with preemptive statutes. LCCR maintains that the laws can be read to coexist where they seek to achieve different purposes.

“This case gets to the heart of who and what our laws are meant to protect: the people or corporations? Community welfare or corporate profits? Lincoln County Community Rights is standing up to say that the law must recognize the right of the people, not corporations, to decide fundamental issues in the communities where they live.” says Ann Kneeland, attorney for LCCR.

The hearing on the parties’ motions for summary judgment will be heard at 11:00 am on Monday, October 9th, in front of Judge Sheryl Bachart, in Courtroom 300 of the Lincoln County Courthouse in Newport.

ABOUT LINCOLN COUNTY COMMUNITY RIGHTS

Lincoln County Community Rights is a public benefit organization that seeks to educate and empower people to exercise their right of local community self-government in matters that pertain to their fundamental rights, their natural environment, their quality of life, their health and their safety. Given the harms that people and ecosystems suffer from the practice of aerial spraying of industrial forest land with pesticides, the group drafted an ordinance to ban aerial pesticide spraying in Lincoln County, Oregon. Measure 21-177 was adopted by voters in May 2017, making Lincoln County the first county in the United States to ban aerial pesticide spraying through the vote of the people. http://ift.tt/1QBRYoT

Press info

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Natural Resource Economist Ernie Niemi

Originally posted on communityrightslanecounty.org :

Thursday October 19th at 7pm

Eugene Garden Club – parking across the street

 

Ernie Niemi is a scientist and natural resource economist trained at the University of Oregon and Harvard. As President of Natural Resource Economics, Inc., he specializes in economic-impact analysis to understand the economic importance of natural resources. He has been active on numerous advisory boards, including the Citizen’s Task Force for Developing a Strategic Plan for the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, and the Technical Advisory Committee on Land Use and Economic Development for the Oregon Dept. of Land Conservation and Development.

 

The post Natural Resource Economist Ernie Niemi appeared first on Community Rights Lane County.

The Signatures are being Delivered to the County Clerk!

Originally posted on communityrightslanecounty.org :

Join Us!
Friday, Sept. 29th @10am

As we deliver the petitions for certification to the Lane County Elections office at 275 W10th Ave. in Eugene.

Thanks to your hard work, we have collected more than 15,000 signatures calling for a BAN on the aerial spraying of herbicides by timber corporations!

The amendment requires 11,500 signatures of registered Lane County voters, but public support has been so strong the final tally has far exceeded our goal.

WE NEED A BIG TURNOUT

Help us generate press coverage and send a message to corporations that The People Are United! Bring your friends, family, and neighbors, and we will see you there!

The post The Signatures are being Delivered to the County Clerk! appeared first on Community Rights Lane County.