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Ohio Bans “Nature Rights”

Wesley J. Smith

nature rights

Finally! After voters in Toledo granted “rights” to Lake Erie — in a special election, it should be noted, with minuscule turnout — Ohio has outlawed the enforcement of “nature rights” in a budget bill signed by the governor. From the legislation:

Sec. 2305.011…[Definitions omitted]

(B) Nature or any ecosystem does not have standing to participate in or bring an action in any court of common pleas.

(C)(1) No person, on behalf of or representing nature or an ecosystem, shall bring an action in any court of common pleas. (2) No person shall bring an action in any court of common pleas against a person who is acting on behalf of or representing nature or an ecosystem. (3) No person, on behalf of or representing nature or an ecosystem, shall intervene in any manner, such as by filing a counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party complaint, in any action brought in any court of common pleas.

(D) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the state or any of its agencies from enforcing the laws pertaining to environmental pollution, conservation, wild animals, or other natural communities or ecosystems.

Good. But this is a budget bill. The “nature rights” ban should be passed as part of a permanent statute at the legislature’s earliest opportunity to do so.

The Purpose Behind Nature Rights

Be it noted that “nature rights” is not aimed primarily at preventing pollution. Rather, the central goal is to stifle free enterprise and throttle prosperity by allowing anyone to sue to enforce nature’s putative rights.

Ohio waited until it was almost too late to thwart “nature rights” subversion. Other states and the federal legislators should get a clue and pass similar laws expeditiously, before the “rights of nature” become part of the Green New Deal. A notable science journal and leftwing activists are already on board, so time could be running short.

Photo: A pair of Lake Erie watersnakes, by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, via Flickr (cropped).

Cross-posted at The Corner.