In a big win for Right to Clean Water (RTCW) in Florida, a judge sided with the voters who passed a Titusville charter amendment. Addressing every point of a Motion for Summary Judgement for Declaratory Judgment filed by the City of Titusville, the judge denied that motion and granted the request by Speak Up Titusville, Inc. to require the City to certify the Amendment.
The city of Seattle will include a program for fish passage around its dams on the Skagit River, as part of a settlement with the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe of a case on behalf of the tribe and of salmon that live in the river.
That program was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as part of the city’s license renewal request for those hydroelectric dams. These are strange times indeed, when FERC becomes the guarantor of river rights.
There are at least two ways of approaching such cases on rights: rights of nature itself (fish, rivers, etc.), or rights of humans.
Human rights are the subject of the Florida citizen petition for a state constitutional amendment for Rights to Clean and Healthy Water.
Florida registered voters, please sign that petition:
And then please get your friends and relatives to sign it.
This Seattle case used both approaches, according to the Continue reading
“Nature should have its own voice…,
even though nature can’t speak.
Corporations can’t speak.
Nation states can’t speak.
They hire a counsel to speak for them.”
Christopher D. Stone said that in 2013, revisiting a legal theory he pioneered in 1972.
He died May 14, 2021, and there is a lengthy eulogy. Emily Langer, Washington Post, 2021-05-19, Christopher Stone, environmental scholar who championed fundamental rights of nature, dies at 83.
But first, hear the professor speak.
He describes a situation that seems eerily familiar:
Walt Disney Enterprises had proposed to develop Mineral King Valley. By develop meaning put in motels, restaurants, and things of that sort. The Sierra Club challenged the permit, permitting this to go on. And the case went up to the Ninth Circuit. And the Forest Service said, look, you don’t have standing, you the Sierra Club don’t have standing. Maybe this is a wrong to issue the permit, but you are not injured, you as a club are not injured.
That scenario is familiar for two reasons.
Early on, Walt Disney World was intended to be in Lowndes County, Georgia, as recounted by numerous local people here who remember when it happened. This actually makes more sense as a location than Orlando, because it would have been next to I-75 and not far from I-10, with easier road access from more of the U.S. population than Orlando. It didn’t happen because Continue reading
A textbook case: “We present our three-minute, passionate oration about the risk to community health, but in the end, nothing we say must be taken into account by the state in issuing the permit.” Common Sense: Community Rights Organizing, by CELDF; thanks to Karma Norjin Lhamo for the reminder.
About 30 speakers gave impassioned orations for denial, after which the Suwannee River Water Management District Board unanimously approved the Nestlé permit as fast as the roll could be called.
SRWMD Board: Larry Thompson, Lower Suwannee Basin; Charles Keith, At Large; Virginia H. Johns, Chair, At Large; Virginia Sanchez, At Large; Charles Schwab, Coastal Rivers Basin; Harry Smith, At Large; Larry Sessions, Upper Suwannee Basin. Notice nobody on the SRWMD Board representing the Santa Fe River Basin. Water taxation without representation.
As one prominent local activist said afterwards, “Two years out of my life I’ll never get back! I don’t know if I’ll ever come back here.”
Sure, voting in a governor who would appoint better WMD board members would help, and into the legislature, too. New legislators would help pass what is really needed: a Bill of Rights for Nature.
That is a way out of the Regulatory Fallacy Box. Continue reading
Despite opposition by Waterkeepers Florida and many other people and organizations, last Friday U.S. EPA gave a big present to Florida developers, by approving FDEP’s assumption of Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The EPA announcement says “The action formally transfers permitting authority under CWA Section 404 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to the State of Florida for a broad range of water resources within the State.” It neglects to mention that almost all of the Suwannee River Basin got left out, including the middle and upper Suwannee River, and the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Santa Fe, Ichetucknee, and New Rivers, as well as the Withlacoochee South River basin.
FDEP got around to releasing a Draft Retained Waters Screening Tool a few weeks ago, after the public comment period. It seems to confirm what we already deciphered from FDEP’s assumption documents: only part of the Lower Suwannee River and Estuary, ditto the lower Withlacoochee South River, end up being covered by either USACE or FDEP. The vast majority of the Suwannee River Basin fell through the cracks. Of course, we and WKFL and many others will not stop working for fishable, swimmable, drinkable waters. About time for a Bill of Rights for Nature, too. Continue reading
On Friday, February 14, 2020, Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) passed this valentine in support of local environmental measures and in opposition to statewide pre-emption:
WKFL to take a position in opposition to state preemption of local governments’ ability to regulate local environmental protections, including, but not limited to, those related to Rights of Nature, single-use plastics or polystyrene, fertilizers, and sunscreens.
This motion was partly provoked by two bills in the Florida legislature right now that would pre-empt the rapidly growing Florida Rights of Nature movement. You can help stop the bad parts of those bills; follow the link.
But the motion goes beyond that, to other topics, and any pre-emption part of any bill.
The two days John Moran spent writing his talk paid off, along with the years of photographing what was and what is left of the waters of Florida. If you watch none of the rest of these videos from the Florida Bill of Rights for Nature, the three with John Moran’s talk are well worth your time.
Below are links to each WWALS video. I didn’t video everything; mostly a few speakers whom I had told in advance.
Doug Shields explains how he got the Pittsburgh, PA, City Council to be the first in the U.S. to ban fracking, and how it spread from there, and what that has to do with Rights of Nature.
Chuck O’Neal of WEBOR explains the three ways you can get a Bill of Rights for Nature passed in a Florida County, and how he did it in, Orange County
As already posted, David Moritz explains the one that may have started it all in Florida, Santa Fe Bill of Rights (SaFEBoR).
You should be able to follow the demonstration of Tools not working for Florida’s environment even if you don’t know FDEP from a WMD, or if you’re familiar with a different state or country. The problems are the same everywhere: laws, agencies, and rules rigged against nature. That’s why we need a Bill of Rights for Nature, in each county, state, and country. Continue reading
Update 2020-02-09: Videos: John Moran, Doug Shields, Chuck O’Neal @ FL RoNCon 2020-02-08
What Santa Fe Bill of Rights (SAFEBOR) started only nine months ago has blossomed into a dozen county or river Rights of Nature movements across the State of Florida.
Here is WWALS video of what David Moritz said about SAFEBOR. More will follow, especially of what John Moran said. Continue reading