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EDITORIAL: Lawsuit wants judge to grant “rights” to the Colorado River

Unable to enact their agenda through the legislative process, many environmental extremists have become expert at manipulating the judicial system to achieve their ends. A federal lawsuit filed last month in Denver highlights how far some of these organizations are willing to go and lays bare the extreme nature of the radical green movement.

The legal action seeks to have a judge determine that the Colorado River has rights, just like a person. The New York Times explains: “If a corporation has rights, the authors argue, so, too, should an ancient waterway that has sustained human life for as long as it has existed in the Western United States.”

The lawsuit, the brainchild of Denver lawyer Jason Flores-Williams and an environmental group called Deep Green Resistance, names the river as the plaintiff. It seeks to hold the state of Colorado and its governor responsible for infringing on the river’s “right to exist, flourish, regenerate, be restored and naturally evolve.”

In other words, the lawsuit is an attempt to drastically alter human use of this vital water resource.

While Mr. Flores-Williams and Deep Green Resistance deserve an A for creativity, any federal judge who allows nonsense like this to move forward deserves to be impeached. Taking this to its logical conclusion, why not allow rocks or soil to sue the humans who dare tread upon them? Would any effort by humankind to harvest nature’s bounty be safe from this type of legal mumbo-jumbo?

But that’s the whole point, isn’t it? The New York Times reports that Deep Green Resistance “believes the mainstream environmental movement has been ineffective and that industrial civilization is fundamentally destructive to life on Earth.” The group’s website — itself reliant on the technological advances these Luddites so loathe — explains its members hope to create “a resistance movement that will dismantle industrial civilization by any means necessary.”

Extreme poverty and deprivation for all!

The river-to-corporation comparison doesn’t withstand serious scrutiny. Corporations are nothing more than a collection of people; they have “rights” in the sense that constitutional limitations on the state’s power over individuals also apply to groups. Otherwise, should government agents be free to search without a warrant the headquarters of any Fortune 500 enterprise?

On a more practical note, why are we to assume that if the Colorado River could assert its feelings it would embrace the far-left agenda of those who now claim to speak for it? On what grounds can a judge even make such a determination? How do we know the river isn’t a Trump supporter that loves the Hoover Dam and enjoys its role as the lifeblood of the West?

This lawsuit is absurd and does a disservice to common sense. The judge should not only throw it out of court, but levy costs against this ridiculous band of litigants. For all we know, the river would want it that way.

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