A New York Environmental Rights Amendment on the Horizon

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network has been working to support constitutional level protection for environmental rights in New York’s constitution.

While for years there have been provisions discussing various environmental issues in Article XIV, the provisions do not have the high level strength needed to recognize the inherent and indefeasible rights of people to a healthy environment and to provide those rights the same level of protection given to the right to free speech, to freedom of religion and other fundamental rights the people of New York hold dear.

But in 2017, Steve Englebright of the New York assembly has proposed this high level of protection. On April 24, 2017 the proposed bill passed the NY Assembly by an overwhelming majority of 113 to 26. But the bill must be re-proposed and voted on this calendar year, 2018, because the senate did not yet pass the parallel provision being advanced by Senator Carlucci. So now both houses, in 2018, need to vote for the right to clean water, clean air and a healthful environment for New Yorkers.

The constitutional rights provision would place, in the Bill of Rights section of the New York Constitution, the following:

“Each person shall have a right to clean air, water, and a healthful environment.”