Professor Reed Benson Quoted in NY Times Article

October 2, 2017 - Tamara Williams

Professor Reed Benson

Professor Reed Benson, chair of the UNM Law School Natural Resources & Environmental Law Program, was quoted in a New York Times article published on Sept. 26, 2017.

In “Corporations Have Rights. Why Shouldn’t Rivers?” reporter Julie Turkewitz says that, “Does a river – or a plant, or a forest – have rights?” is the essential question for a first-of-its-kind federal lawsuit seeking personhood rights for the Colorado River. 

Environmental cases are typically brought by environmental groups and/or individuals, but this case seeks to establish that the river itself can sue to protect its ecosystem.

Commenting on the lawsuit, Benson stated, “I don’t think it’s laughable, but I think it’s a long shot in more ways than one.”  The threshold problem is that a federal court case must be brought by a person with “standing” to sue, and a river would not qualify under established Supreme Court precedent. 

Benson was one of two law professors interviewed for the story, along with Harvard’s Jody Freeman.