Forest met Jack Knight and picked up John Olivas in Lansing, before heading to Robert Nehman’s incredible not-quite-finished house (“Once this hit, I stopped working on it.”). Robert had just returned from NY (at Josh Fox’s place) and reported he met with many movers and shakers at the big climate rally in NYC.
John has a powerful story and a compelling case for Mora County’s decision to go with a rights-based ordinance as a way to ban hydrocarbon extraction. A point Forest also appreciated was the recognition by Mora County that, yes, they could put regulations on the book, but in a poor county with a million dollar operating budget who would regulate? We can see many parallels to that here. Regulations mean nothing if not enforced.
Robert and Jack (and Ric Zarwell, though he was not there) very much like the community rights approach as an organizing tool and for its explicit empowering of We the People, however they also think their ordinance is very solid (Forest tends to agree). John was able to speak well on the ability to pass a rights-based ordinance (which would necessarily nullify any regulatory ordinance), with a section stating that if the ordinance is ever overturned or repealed, a moratorium automatically comes into effect. This would allow time for adopting a strict regulatory ordinance, or one could feasibly have an on-deck regulatory ordinance that would automatically come into effect.
Forest then drove John to Viroqua where they ate and went to the Viroqua High School.
Roughly fifty people attended that free and open to the public event where John gave a very educational talk with questions and answers going a half-hour longer than the 8:30 scheduled end of the talk. There were folks representing Sauk County, Monroe Co, Richland Co, Allamakee Co, Vernon Co, and Crawford Co for sure and possibly more represented. Some folks have drafted a Non-metallic mining ordinance for Viroqua Township which is being considered and will come up for a vote by the township soon.
Forest hosted John at Dancing Waters for the night and the following morning