Anti-aerial pesticide group brings in additional legal help to defend its success at the polls May 16th
Although an anti-aerial pesticide spraying rule was passed by the voters back in May, the law has been prevented from taking effect because of one or more problems with it. The Lincoln County Commission, through their County Counsel (attorney) has some problems with language that seems to imply that people can take the law into their own hands if the spraying continues. And for that confusion, a decision was made to not enact the new law until that issue is resolved. It is quite common for a local voter-created law to be refined or modified to comply with the overall framework of local or state laws while still preserving voter intent when they voted for it.
When the county stepped in to stop the law’s enactment, those who authored the anti-aerial spray prohibition brought in a legal team that has a lot of experience in helping local groups preserve their approved ballot issues – whether it’s against chemical spraying, fracking, direct or indirect environmental destruction or any other potentially disruptive activity.
Here is the statement from that group that has stepped in:
Lincoln County Community Rights (LCCR) has filed to intervene in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Measure 21-177. The lawsuit was filed by Newport resident Rex Capri and Wakefield Farms, LLC against Lincoln County and Dana Jenkins, in his capacity as County Clerk. Measure 21-177 was voted into law by the people of Lincoln County in the May 16, 2017 election.
Intervention allows Lincoln County Community Rights (LCCR) to join the County as respondents in the suit, allowing the people of Lincoln County to stand up for the peoples’ law. The County has made it known that its interest in the lawsuit is to see what the court decides and has spoken out against the measure. Such an approach falls short of actually defending the ordinance approved by the people’s vote.
Lincoln County Community Rights (LCCR) is a non-profit group based in Lincoln County and run by local volunteers that seeks to empower people to exercise their right to local community self-governance in matters that pertain to their fundamental rights, their natural environment, quality of life, health and safety. Measure 21-177 campaign was run by Citizens for a Healthy County (CHC), political committee of Lincoln County Community Rights.
The right of local community self-governance gives Lincoln County voters the right to create and pass local laws that protect the health, safety and welfare of the people, their community, and nature. It also empowers them to enact laws that ban corporations from engaging in activities that violate those rights and obligates County government to enforce them.
Measure 21-177, which is also known as the Freedom from Aerially Sprayed Pesticides Ordinance of Lincoln County, secures the rights of people to be free from toxic trespass, the right to clean air, water, and soil, and the right to enjoy outdoor recreation all free from the harm of aerial sprayed pesticides. In addition, the rights of ecosystems and natural communities in Lincoln County are also protected from aerial spray of pesticides.
It is common in Lincoln County and in other communities in Oregon for the timber industry to administer multiple aerial sprayings in conjunction with the practice of clearcutting and replanting within the industrial forest model.
Contrary to the plaintiffs’ assertions filed in their complaint, LCCR believes that the Freedom from Aerially Sprayed Pesticides Ordinance of Lincoln County has been lawfully and validly adopted by the authority of Lincoln County’s voters. LCCR asserts this law should be enacted and enforced under the constitutional right of local self-government which takes precedence over that of state preemption when such laws are less protective of health and safety.
As part of the continuing education around local community self-government, the defense and enforcement of Measure 21-177, and what is involved in the current lawsuit, Kai Huschke, Northwest organizer for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, will be speaking at the Newport Visual Arts Center (second floor meeting room) on July 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is representing LCCR in court proceedings.