Bloomberg Law
May 30, 2019, 10:30 AM

Lake Erie Bill of Rights Fight Shows Limitations of Local Laws

Alex Ebert
Alex Ebert
Staff Correspondent

The Lake Erie Bill of Rights is sinking, with legal hurdles likely dooming the local law that tried to give Toledo residents a tool to crack down on polluters.

Toledo activists in February cheered the passage of the city charter amendment that gave residents power to sue businesses and governments that harmed the “Lake Erie ecosystem.” But the ensuing futile legal struggle highlights how civil procedure and case precedent can doom local initiatives that interfere with state and federal regulation.

Despite at least 150 local governments adopting similar “community rights” ordinances, legal research indicates the movement rests ...

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