Environmental group asks court to recognize Colorado River as a person

Environmental group asks court to recognize Colorado River as a person

[JURIST] Deep Green Resistance [advocacy website], a direct action environmental group, filed a lawsuit on Monday seeking the US District Court for the District of Colorado [judicial website] to grant personhood status to the Colorado River. If personhood status is granted, the State of Colorado could be held liable for violating the river’s rights.

The complaint [text] reads in part:

Through this action, the Plaintiffs are asking this Court to recognize and declare that the Colorado River is capable of possessing rights similar to a “person,” and that as part of that declaration, that the Colorado River has certain rights to exist, flourish, regenerate, and naturally evolve. In the absence of such a finding, Plaintiffs contend that existing environmental laws will continue to fail to protect the Colorado River, and thus, continue to fail to protect the human and natural communities that are dependent on the River.

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund [advocacy website] announced in a press release [text] on Thursday that they will be serving as a legal adviser to the Deep Green Resistance, calling the complaint a “first-in-the-nation.”

In the past, the environmental groups have been named as the plaintiffs. In July a federal judge ruled in favor of two wildlife conservation groups and blocked [JURIST report] construction of a dam to preserve an ancient fish species. In April environmental groups filed a suit [JURIST report] against Trump for the proposed border wall. In March several environmental groups sued [JURIST report] the Trump administration over the Keystone XL Pipeline.