Support Passage of a West Virginia Environmental Rights Amendment … A Green Amendment.
While our West Virginia constitution recognizes many important inalienable and political rights – such as our rights to free speech, freedom of religion and due process — it does not recognize and protect our inalienable rights to pure water, clean air and healthy environments. Passage of a West Virginia Environmental Rights Amendment can change that and raise up our rights to clean water and air, and healthy environments to being legally on par with our other fundamental human rights.
With a West Virginia Environmental Rights Amendment, we will empower our legislators to pass laws that ensure and strengthen environmental protection; we will have a check on government actions that allow our water, air and critical natural resources to be degraded in dangerous and devastating ways; and in those instances when there is no legal protection in place we will have a constitutional right that will allow us to secure needed government action and protection. Environmental pollution and degradation has devastating impacts on our families, friends and communities – causing cancer, heart attack, dementia, asthma and other serious illnesses; causing devastating floods and flood damages; harming property values to nearby and affected homes; and reducing the quality of the lives of those forced to live in polluted, contaminated and degraded environmental conditions.
Given that we all depend upon pure water, clean air, a stable climate and healthy environments to support and sustain our healthy lives and our healthy economy, it is right and appropriate that they should be protected with the same legal strength that we protect our rights to free speech, freedom of religion, our due process rights and our property rights.
A West Virginia Environmental Rights Amendment would recognize, in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights:
- the inalienable rights of all the people of West Virginia, including future generations, to pure water, clean air and a healthy environment;
- that West Virginia’s public natural resources belong to all the people, and that all government officials in the state of West Virginia have a duty to serve as trustee to conserve and maintain these resources for the benefit of all the people, including future generations; and
- that these rights are self-executing and must be given the same legal recognition and protection as all the other human, civil and political rights we hold dear.