The continuing fight to give “nature” rights on the level of a human right is an ongoing bit of maddness that has seen some push back in recent years, including in Ohio and Florida, the later of which showed that one can have a clean environment without granting a river or swamp a “legal right” that any eco-lunatic can sue over in part by banning local governments from granting nature legal rights. ‘Twould seem, though, that the voters in Orange County, Florida, did not get the memo from the state government and went ahead and passed a so-called “Wekiva River and Econlockhatchee River Bill of Rights” anyway.
“On Election Day, a breathtaking 89% of Orange County voters approved the Right to Clean Water Charter Amendment. Orange County is now the largest jurisdiction in the nation to pass this kind of legislation.
“Historic in its scope and meaning, this vote ushers in the systemic change Florida needs, and it makes Florida the epicenter of the Rights of Nature Movement in the United States.
“This is an indisputable, bi-partisan mandate from the citizens of Orange County. Approval of the amendment — also known as the Wekiva River and Econlockhatchee River Bill of Rights — shows that the rights to clean water and healthy ecosystems are not to be subordinated to the interests of polluters.
“Granting legally recognized rights to nature is the new vanguard of environmental efforts.”
The charter amendment explicitly makes “[t]he Wekiva River and Econlockhatchee River, portions of which are within the boundaries of Orange County, and all other Waters within the boundaries of Orange County, have a right to exist, Flow, to be protected against Pollution and to maintain a healthy ecosystem.” This is a sweeping declaration that allows any one in the county can sue over.
The full text can be read below.