Many people all over Miami, Oklahoma will be taking initiative. Every single person who picks up a pen, reads through the wordy document and signs an initiative petition that is currently being circulated as an eligible and registered city voter will be demonstrating with their own free will-- doing the one thing not attempted before in the known history of the city. Citizens will be exercising the inherent right of the people of the City of Miami to make laws which recognize and expand criminal liability and environmental rights at the municipal level under the actual authority provided in the Oklahoma Constitution. Each will be responding to the title: A CITY OF MIAMI CLEAN WATER PROTECTION ORDINANCE to give what most believe to be a God-given right, the right to Clean water.
People all over the country have protested, marched and been jailed to stop the TransCanada's XL Pipeline. And this week the company gave it up on their own, they terminated the project. Also, this week EPA and Army Corps of Engineers took on making laws protecting the Waters of the US stronger, and the Arctic Refuge got rescued by Biden and the first ever Indigenous Secretary of the Interior.
We as a community have not fought the fight, have not been in the streets, gotten arrested for our Clean Water fight. We don't have to. All we have to do is sign a petition, asking as a Citizen of Miami, OK for Clean Water as a Right, your very own right. And the right for Tar Creek to be protected from added pollution. And for polluters to face fines and restitution to correct that damage be paid to the city for the victim, Tar Creek.
This ordinance cannot undo the damage Tar Creek has had with 42 years of a million gallons of acid mine water flowing through the city, some days much more is pouring out of the mines, at flood stage more of Tar Creek is spread vastly across the fields, parks and many residential yards. This ordinance does not charge or render blame on Tar Creek when that may occur.
With enough signatures on the petition, it will allow a special election to be held in the city, if the City Council does not on their own approve the ordinance. It could be easier for the City Counselors to do that with hundreds and thousands of registered voters saying, "Hey, clean water, I am for that" and demonstrating it with their signatures on the petitions we will walk into the meeting for them to see each time it might be on the agenda.
Sometimes taking initiative takes little energy, perhaps a call to a friend, an elbow nudge to a fellow standing next to you or someone sitting beside you in a pew, like before COVID made cozy abnormal.
What are the Rights of the People of the City of Miami as stated in the ordinance?
The people of the City of Miami possess the right to clean water, which shall include the right to a healthy Tar Creek that is free from pollution, and the right to be free from activities or projects which violate that right.
What are the Rights of Tar Creek as stated in the ordinance?
Tar Creek possesses the rights to exist, regenerate, and flourish, which shall include the right to naturally recharge, the right to flow, the right to water quality necessary to provide habitat for native plants and animals, the right to provide clean water, the right to be free from pollution, and the right to restoration. Tar Creek shall also have the right to be free from activities or projects which violate those rights. The rights of the Creek secured within this Ordinance shall not be interpreted to confer liabilities, duties, obligations, or responsibilities on the Creek.
When Tar Creek is polluted, Tar Creek is harmed and becomes a victim with legal rights. “Tar Creek” as used within this Ordinance, shall include the Tar Creek ecosystem, which shall include, but not be limited to, tributaries of the Creek, and the Tar Creek watershed.
When I first read what rights Tar Creek has, it was like reading poetry. When reading the rights of the People in this ordinance, it reads like justice. Justice that can begin to be gained by the People of Miami, OK's long overdue claim to their Right to Clean Water.
Take some initiative.