On February 26, voters in Toledo, Ohio approved a ballot measure to give Lake Erie legal rights to “exist, flourish, and naturally evolve” and the citizens of Toledo the right to “a clean and healthy Lake Erie.” A Wood County, Ohio farmer is suing to overturn the new law, which gives Toledo residents the ability to sue any business or government they believe is polluting Lake Erie, including farms.
While the constitutionality of this law is in serious question and it is unlikely to survive a legal challenge, the group behind this ballot measure has stated their intention to encourage other cities to try similar ballot measures. Even if they are not ultimately successful, laws at the local, state, or federal level that allow activists to sue farmers for environmental damage to a natural resource can be expensive, stressful, and time consuming to defend, and can put farmers out of business before being overturned.
Contact: Laura Campbell | 517-679-5332
MFB #74 Environmental Protection and Authority
MFB #82 Nonpoint Source Pollution and Watershed Management