Cincinnati, OHIO: CROW, Citizens for the Rights of the Ohio River Watershed, will be announcing the kick off of their Rights of the Ohio River Watershed charter amendment initiative petition campaign tomorrow, April 18 at 11:00 am on the steps of City Hall, 801 Plum St. The local group formed after doing research on Rights of Nature with the passage of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) in 2019. CROW needs 5,246 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot providing Cincinnati voters with a chance to make history. The kickoff event will feature speakers from the CROW group, additional advocacy groups for the Ohio River, CELDF and students from Ohio University.
The decision to move ahead with legal rights protection for the watershed began with hosting a Rights of Nature speaker series in the fall of 2019. It’s been common knowledge that the Ohio River has been abused by corporate polluters for decades, including the DuPont C8/Teflon poisoning of the river which was featured in the film Dark Waters starring Mark Ruffalo as local Cincinnati attorney Rob Bilott. Coupled with that dirty history was learning that the EPA listed the Ohio River as the most polluted River in the United States for many years, which then pushed Cincinnati residents to learn more on how this could’ve happened, by hosting a Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) Democracy School. Municipalities across Ohio, facing similar environmental degradation and threats, have been working with CELDF since 2011 to assert their rights and protect their communities and nature from harmful corporate projects.
Read the full CELDF press release.