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Pursuing a Bill of Rights for Lake Erie

By Peggy Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

The Toledoans for Safe Water submitted over 10,500 signatures this month on a petition proposing to amend the city’s charter to establish a bill of rights for Lake Erie.

The proposed bill of rights would state that Lake Erie and its watershed possesses a right to exist, flourish and naturally evolve; that the people of Toledo have a right to a clean and healthy Lake Erie, a collective and individual right to self-government in their local community and a right to a system of government that protects their rights; and that any corporation or government that violates the rights of Lake Erie could be prosecuted by the city and held legally liable for fines and all harm caused. The effort is backed by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. If successful, the initiative would appear on the November ballot for Toledo residents.

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