Letters Week of 12/14/2020

Press readers

Wreaths to honor heroes
To the editor: The Ottawa County Wreath Committee is excited to be bringing Wreaths Across America to the veteran graves in Riverview, Lakeview, and Lacarpe cemeteries on Saturday, Dec. 19.
With your help, we will place over 1,100 Christmas wreaths at the final resting place of our Ottawa County heroes.
The mission of Wreaths Across America is, “Remember, Honor, Teach.” It is carried out in part by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at cemeteries in all 50 states and beyond. The event is made possible by thousands of volunteers who organize local ceremonies, raise funds to sponsor wreaths, and participate in the events.
There will be a change to the ceremony at Riverview Cemetery. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at Veterans Circle. COVID-19 guidelines require that attendees wear a mask, social distance and do not gather at Veterans Circle for the ceremony. Instead, we ask attendees when arriving at the cemetery to go straight to their loved one’s gravesite for the entirety of the ceremony.
We invite all attendees at our Riverview Cemetery Ceremony to help us say our heroes’ names so they are not forgotten. The wreaths will be placed at the conclusion of the ceremony.
We are looking forward to another beautiful, yet somber day of remembrance. Thank you for your consideration and support, and we look forward to seeing you on National Wreaths Across America Day.
Sara Torris, Director
Ottawa County Veterans Service Office

Progress made on
nature movement
To the editor: So far in 2020, important developments for the global Rights of Nature movement have been made in Ecuador, French Guiana, Australia, the Nez Perce Tribe, Spain, Costa Rica, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, the Tsilhqot’in Nation, and the Yurok Tribe, which helped win an historic agreement to remove dams on the Klamath River (whose rights the tribe were formally recognized in 2019.)
Recently, backlash to the movement has come from the American Petroleum Institute and lawmakers in Missouri.
On Dec. 1, 2020, the API, perhaps the most influential fossil fuel lobby in the nation, filed a brief in opposition to a federal civil rights case brought by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, in defense of local communities’ right to vote on qualified local Rights of Nature laws.
The same day the API filed its legal brief, a bill (House Bill 54); to try to ban Rights of Nature in the courts was introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives. The language in the bill is almost identical to language passed in 2019, by the Ohio legislature, that was drafted by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce in direct response to the passage of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights.
Weeks ago, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic decision in McGirt, which ruled that much of Eastern Oklahoma falls within Indian reservations that have sovereignty to pass environmental law (including Rights of Nature lawmaking by the Ponca Tribe), Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and allies sought to undermine the decision by asking Congress to strip environmental authority from tribes. (Ponca Environmental Ambassador Casey Camp Horinek and the group Movement Rights have been organizing to defend tribal sovereignty and the Rights of Nature in the state.)
Additionally, in September, a corporate law firm that filed a lawsuit against the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, used civil rights law to demand attorney fees from the City of Toledo, for its fleeting defense of the people’s law. This amounts to financial reprisal against residents of Toledo for their enactment of the historic law.
Simon Davis-Cohen
Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund


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