By Kiera Morgan:
Lincoln County Judge Sheryl Bachart heard arguments from attorney Anne Kneeland, on behalf of Carol Van Strum as to why the Siletz River Ecosystem should be listed in a motion to intervene in the lawsuit defending Measure 21-177. Kneeland told the judge that in other areas of the world Ecosystems are represented as having rights in court. She also compared it to allowing corporations to be represented as people in court proceedings.
Judge Bachart said that in the case of a ecosystem there can be no judgment back against it, like there could be with a corporation, which could be held accountable. Bachart said a court can’t find monetarily in favor or against an ecosystem. Kneeland acknowledged this fact but said that an ecosystem can benefit from being able to function in this case without pesticide spraying.
Judge Bachart pointed out that Lincoln County Community Rights already has included the rights of the ecosystem in their listing as plaintiffs as part of their mission. Kneeland said the Siletz River Ecosystem stands as its own entity and has its own interests different from human interests. She said they may overlap, but they are not the same. County Council Wayne Belmont said his only concern was that there would be an interim appeal that would hold the case up in the courts even further.
In the end Judge Bachart stated she was intrigued by the motion, saying it was a novel concept and one that would clearly be gaining traction in the future. She said however that she felt it did not meet the merits of this case and didn’t see the Siletz River Ecosystem interests as separate from those of the Lincoln County Community Rights. Kneeland indicated she would not file an interim appeal in this case so the proceedings could move forward.