Environment bill of rights fails in B.G.

Defiance sends message on money in politics


BOWLING GREEN — A resident-led initiative in Bowling Green that attempted to create an environmentally themed community bill of rights failed miserably Tuesday, while a resident-led initiative in Defiance that challenges a U.S. Supreme Court decision about corporate speech was approved by a 2-to-1 margin.

Three-quarters of Bowling Green’s voters cast their ballots against a proposed charter amendment that would have asserted city residents have a right to clean air, water, and land, among other things.

The proposal, brought by activists opposed to hydraulic fracturing of bedrock, or fracking, was attacked by Mayor Dick Edwards and the local business community as being vague and potentially stifling to economic development.

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The Bowling Green City Council earlier this fall addressed the fracking controversy with a 7-0 vote to ban fracking and disposal of fracking waste fluids within the city limits.

Supporters of the charter amendment saw the proposal as a way of strengthening the council’s action.

“City council stepped up and handled it directly,” Mr. Edwards said.

Lea Harper, one of those who pushed for the residents’ bill of rights, said, “We will continue to try to wake people up to this new industry that’s moving into Ohio,” she said.

In Defiance, city voters passed a resident-led initiative that puts the city on record in support of a constitutional amendment that declares only humans, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights and that money is not equivalent to speech.

The initiative is in response to a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision.

It overturned some provisions of the federal Campaign Reform Act of 2002, giving corporations and labor unions the same rights as individuals to unrestricted spending on political speech.

Also Tuesday, Bettsville voters passed a replacement levy in support of H.P. Eells Park; Clyde voters approved a 1.5-mill, 10-year levy to support Clyde Public Library; Wood County voters approved a 2.95-mill, five-year levy for the county Board of Developmental Disabilities, and the Swanton Local School District was ahead on its proposal to renew a 0.5-mill, continuing levy for its library system.

Contact Tom Henry at: or 419-724-6079.