The response of civil and human rights advocates has been strategic litigation to remind those in power that they cannot do that, that there is a rule of law, and that it will be enforced.
For six years, Elisabeth “Lis” Stannus and Emily Toews, two elementary school teachers in the remote community of Kitimat in northwestern British Columbia, have been fighting a legal battle to protect their local airshed from increasing air pollution. On the other side of this battle were the BC Ministry of Environment (MOE) and Rio Tinto, one of the world’s biggest metals and mining companies.
Refineries and petrochemical plants that process fossil fuels are hurting poor communities and communities of color along the Gulf Coast, including southern Louisiana’s notorious Cancer Alley. And that environmental racism is only getting worse, as Formosa’s decision to target St. James Parish for its next massive plastic facility shows.
People in Ohio have a right to the initiative to directly “check and balance” the government. Nonetheless, governing officials are repeatedly telling residents that they do not have the authority to vote on these measures. “It’s voter suppression,” says Wilkins, “because they’re not allowing you to vote on things you believe in. We the people should have the right to vote on these things.”
Ohio, like many states, has a system that allows people who experience unforeseen hospitalization or other medical emergencies to request, receive, and cast absentee ballots, even if their emergency took place after the normal absentee ballot request deadline. However, despite the constitutional presumption of innocence, the same provision is not available to voters arrested after the deadline. These voters, have not been convicted of any crime, are similarly unable to reach the polls on Election Day, yet they are denied access to the emergency voting procedure.
Discharges from irrigated agriculture are the largest source of pollutionin California’s Central Valley. Water diversions for irrigated agriculture pose significant environmental challenges by diminishing instream flows and depleting aquifers throughout the state. Agricultural operations also pose a significant threat to water quality when nitrates, pesticides, sediment, pathogens, heavy metals, and salts run off fields into surface and groundwater. Farming right up to the riverbank by intensive farming operations has also led to the destruction of natural riparian zones through increased erosion, nutrient and sediment pollution, higher water temperatures, and degraded aquatic habitats.