Lincoln County Community rights presented citizen initiative Measure 21-177 on the May 2017 ballot for banning delivery of toxic chemicals via helicopter, plane or drone, all of which are aerial applications. The measure passed by a small margin of voters in Lincoln County. Timber and Chemical industry funded a court challenge the day after the election results were certified by the county with local representatives Rex Capri and Wakefield Farms as plaintiffs. Circuit Court heard this case October 2017 and the law to ban aerial application of biocides was in place for 29 months while timber management and tree growth continued with ground applications of pesticides.
When the court decision came down in September of 2019, this local law protecting the health and safety of human and non-human life and integrity of clean waters was preempted by state statute put into place verbatim from ALEC’s proposed language that only the state had the right to ‘regulate’ the use and sale of pesticides in Oregon. This language over-turned the will of the voters of Lincoln County. Aerially sprayed toxic chemicals are again being sprayed over extensive clear cuts in Lincoln County without our consent and without the consent of salmonids or wildlife who live in or drink the waters flowing down from high country into personal and municipal water systems, into rivers and stored in the sediments, and on to the ocean.
LCCR filed an appeal for a judicary panel of the higher court to hear our case and written materials have been submitted by Capri and Wakefields’ attorneys, Lincoln County’s counsel, and our attorney. An oral hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 1, 2021 in the morning session via the state’s platform allowing judiciary panel and attorneys to meet virtually and the public to listen in either live feed or archive recording. For more information about this process and arguments to be heard, LCCR and Oregon Community Rights Network will host a zoom call Wednesday, 5/26/21 6pm. Email email@example.com for the zoom links prior to the meeting time – media and interested persons are welcome to join us. Information about navigating the Court ‘zoom’ system is available at www.orcrn.org/4628-2 with the link to appeals court.
One of the considerations in our appeal is the matter of Rights of Nature, as we petitioned the lower court to authorize the Siletz River Ecosystem to join in the suit, with Guardian Carol Van Strum speaking on behalf of the living beings of the SIletz River’s entire ecosystem. The judge denied the request suggesting that LCCR and our attorney could speak for the river. In legal actions across the globe rivers have been given the right to be heard in courts for protections from harm done by industry, commerce, and authorized harms by government agencies. Nation states have created constitutional amendments to protect Nature’s existence, and international courts are working to define the parameters of ‘ecocide’ whether harm came from war damages, by industry pollution, or resource extractions. Human-centric concerns (increased population using more water, municipal waste sites, industry pollutants discharged as effluents) are not often aligned with the survival of clean air, water or soil fertility, and using earth or waterways as waste grounds these same bodies of living land or water have no voice to give or deny their consent to be poisoned or killed.
We are asking the appeals court to rise to affirming the Rights of Nature to defend herself and receive legal protections for what is required by all life forms for survival on this planet. Come the day human beings self-regulate the desire for more – more things, more wealth, more ownership – replacing that with living as family with the natural world of which we are one part, we will no longer need laws to protect clean water or air. We’ll make decisions that do no harm and find creative solutions to our needs. That remains a dream some of us carry speaking the truth and options for what is possible. Join us.