Sunday, May 10, 2020

WATER WARS: Ch. 8, Does the Colorado River Need Rights?

Water Wars Sharing the Colorado River
An article in the New York Times of September 26, 2017, by Julie Turkewitz described a lawsuit recently entered into by “a Denver lawyer and a far-left environmental group” “to recognize the Colorado River as a person,” as is done with corporations, to give it rights of its own.
The suit was filed against the state of Colorado, making it liable for violating the river’s “right to exist, flourish, regenerate, be restored, and naturally evolve.”
Lawyers had different degrees of confidence that this suit by the organization Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund would be successful; if it did succeed, then a host of other environmentally notable areas could be afforded the same protections. The suit claims the state has allowed the river to be damaged, and it notes that some other countries have given some rights for natural entities.

The lawyer for the plaintiffs maintains that a successful suit would level the legal playing field between those who use nature and nature itself. The article cites Judy Freeman, director of Harvard’s environmental law program, who noted that the courts have yet to give animals legal standing, so giving geographical elements legal standing would be an even greater stretch, although she wrote that the late Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas did argue in a dissenting opinion that natural objects should be accorded rights and to be represented in court by human advocates.
A blog article by libertarian publication Reason contributor Ronald Bailey on September 22, 2017, had the headline and sub-head “Does the Colorado River Have Rights? The river doesn’t need rights if people have strong property rights to its water.” The blog mentioned the Supreme Court case Sierra Club v. Morton (1972) and Justice Douglas’s dissent to the conclusion that the Sierra Club did not have legal standing and lacked enough demonstration of connection to the river and harm. Douglas had argued that not only corporations, but also ships, are sometimes accorded the rights of persons.
The blog writer stated he favored protection of individuals by the riparian rights doctrine, that those along the shores of the waterways have a right to an undiminished quantity and quality of water flowing past their properties, a principle upheld in the case of Whalen v. Union Bag and Paper, (1913), where the rights of a farmer with a 255-acre farm were upheld against a million-dollar paper mill that was employing 500 people. The writer notes that conferring property rights to water use helps prevent the “tragedy of the commons,” where shared resources are over-used and under-protected.
In early December of the same year, 2017, the lawyer who presented the suit withdrew it, indicating that he had been warned that it was frivolous and would expose him to state sanctions if he continued.
The case was dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning the ruling cannot be appealed.

I will continue serializing here weekly the Microsoft Word transcription of the final galley proof .pdf copy ot WATER WARS, and the book itself  is most conveniently found at

or at DWC's author's book title list

1 comment:


    Indeed Doctor Disu has a cure for Herpes Virus,
    I was once victim of the herpes virus with many epidemics on my body, I was cured of the virus thanks to the help of Doctor Disu herbal medicine. I have met most of his patient testimonials on blogs and social media pages, cured of various illnesses. I contacted him with his email address to which he replied and asked me a few questions and the preparation method for which I paid, he sent me herbal medicines and with his prescription I drank herbal medicine for 21 days and the epidemics on my body were healed after concluding herbal medicine, I went for the test and my result was negative with no trace of virus in my blood. You can also be cured, contact him on his official email; or WhatsApp him on +2348167485904.

    He said he had an herbal remedy for
    Diabetes, cancer, PENIS ENLARGMENT,
    HIV, heart disease and liver disease