November 30, 2017,  New Jersey Assemblyman Tim Eustace, joined by Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, Assemblywoman Pinkin and Assemblywoman Sumpter, announced new legislation that, if passed, would provide the people of New Jersey with a constitutional right to a healthy environment. The proposed provision identifies the State as trustee of public natural resources including the water, air, flora, fauna and the climate, and ensures an obligation by government officials to conserve and maintain these resources for the benefit of present and future generations.  Including the proposed language in the New Jersey ensures that the right to clean water, clean air and a healthy environment will be protected as firmly as other essential rights are protected, like the right to free speech, freedom of religion and private property rights.

As proposed the New Jersey environmental rights amendment would read as follows:

(a)  Every person has a right to a clean and healthy environment, including pure water, clean air, and ecologically healthy habitats, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic qualities of the environment.  The State shall not infringe upon these rights, by action or inaction.

(b)  The State’s public natural resources, among them its waters, air, flora, fauna, climate, and public lands, are the common property of all the people, including both present and future generations.  The State shall serve as trustee of these resources, and shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all people.

(c)  This paragraph and the rights stated herein are (1) self-executing, and (2) shall be in addition to any rights conferred by the public trust doctrine or common law.

The two prime sponsors of the bill are Assemblyman Eustace and Assemblywoman Pinkin.  But we believe every member of the New Jersey legislature should support protecting environmental rights as an inalienable human right.  Send your letter today to your assembly member and senator and urge them to be vocal and active in support.