Bowling Green, OH: The Bowling Green Climate Protectors coalition announced today they are gathering signatures to place their Community Rights to a Healthy Environment and Livable Climate City Charter Amendment on the November 2017 ballot. The measure is the first of its kind in the state. Similar measures are being advanced in Spokane, WA, and Lafayette, CO. Each community is fighting fossil fuel activities.
The Bowling Green amendment was drafted by Bowling Green students and City residents, working with the assistance of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). The student-resident coalition formed when Spectra Energy Corporation requested an easement from the City for the Nexus pipeline to cut through City limits. Community members crowded City Council meetings, urging their representatives to deny the easement. While the easement was not granted, residents learned the pipeline would pass under the Maumee River, threatening the City’s drinking water source and located perilously close to the Bowling Green Fault.
“We feel that all the people living in BG should have a voice in deciding what kind of a community we are going to leave for future residents of the city,” said Lisa Kochheiser, Bowling Green resident and local activist. “If we don’t protect the water now, there won’t be a future for our residents, the City or the university.” Thus, students and residents requested the CELDF’s help in drafting their Community Rights to a Healthy Environment and Livable Climate. They are grassroots organizing to bring the measure to a vote of Bowling Green citizens.
Daniel Myers, President of the Bowling Green student group, added, “The students recognize that the continued extraction of fossil fuels is causing increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, which is causing climate destabilization, mass species extinction, and human suffering. We are unwilling to wait for elected officials to solve this problem - the stakes are too high. We have to do something now. That is why we are a part of this effort to propose a law for Bowling Green that actually prohibits the pipeline from causing further damage and jeopardizing our future.”
Ohio residents are advancing Community Rights as part of the broader Community Rights Movement building across the United States, where other localities are advancing similar measures to establish and protect their rights to a healthy climate, clean air and water, and the right to local community self-government.
Local communities and state Community Rights Networks are partnering with CELDF to advance these fundamental democratic and environmental rights. They are working with CELDF to establish Community Rights and the Rights of Nature in law, and prohibit extraction, fracking, factory farming, water privatization, and other industrial activities as violations of those rights. Communities are joining together within and across states, working with CELDF to advance systemic change - recognizing our existing system of law and governance as inherently undemocratic and unsustainable.
For additional information regarding petitioning communities, contact CELDF at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn about the Ohio Community Rights Network, visit ohiocrn.org. To learn about the Community Rights Movement, visit www.celdf.org.
About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit, public interest law firm providing free and affordable legal services to communities facing threats to their local environment, local agriculture, local economy, and quality of life. Its mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.