In the three states that have Green Amendments — Pennsylvania, Montana, New York — communities are using their constitutional rights to fight for, and WIN, critical environmental protections. Some efforts involve litigation, others are advocacy. Every victory – whether through legal action or effective community organizing and advocacy — sets important precedent and becomes powerful inspiration for others seeking and/or enforcing their own Green Amendment rights. You can read about some of the key successes and ongoing efforts here.
Green Amendment Legal Victories in the 3 Green Amendment States That Have Them.
(Key Green Amendment cases laid out & explained.)
- Robinson Twp, Delaware Riverkeeper Network et.al. v. Commonwealth: pro-fracking law defeated as unconstitutional
- PEDF v. Commonwealth: misappropriation of environmental funds secured through fracking leases on public lands a constitutional concern
- Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. PADEP re Bishop Tube: failure of state to act to address decades of high level site contamination is a constitutional concern
- PFAS Protections: Pennsylvania Government Advances PFAS Standards to Protect Environmental Rights & Fulfill Constitutional Green Amendment Obligation
- PEDF IV: Supreme Court speaks to the constitutional environmental rights of future generations.
- Center Coalfield Justice v. PADEP: longwall coal mining permit revision unlawful as constitutional violation
- Friends of Lackawanna v. PADEP: landfill renewal permit ordered modified to address historic groundwater contamination
- PA Attorney General Empanels Grand Jury to investigate systemic failures of government regards to the environmental and community impacts fracking
- PA Attorney General is routinely using the PA Green Amendment to support environmental protection efforts
- Gov Wolf Vetoes law that prohibited communities from instituting plastic ban protections
- PA Public Utilities Commission re Transource Powerline: PUC Administrative Law Judge recommends denial of powerline approval that later adopted by the PUC Commissioners.
- Marple Township v Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission: affirming obligation of all government to conduct a constitutionally-based environmental assessment of proposed action as part of decision making.
- PA Senators Yaw & Baker, et. al. v. DRBC, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, PA Senator Santarsiero, et. al.: challenge to ban on fracking dismissed for lack of standing, including because the ban protects the state's natural resources as required by the PA Green Amendment.
- MEIC v. Montana DEQ: industrial gold mining permit rescinded for failure to consider and protect natural resources
- Held v. Montana: final lower court decision protecting the right to a safe climate
- Cape France Enterprises v. Estate of Peed: court rejected ordering specific performance of a drilling contract that could have contaminated groundwater supply
- Park Cty Envtl Council & Greater Yellowstone Coalition v. MT DEA & Lucky Minerals: gold mining exploration license vacated and state law deemed unconstitutional for exempting activities from essential environmental reviews.
- Held v. State of Montana: Youth Climate Legal Action withstands motion to dismiss largely because of environmental rights (in other states without a Green Amendment similar cases have been dismissed).
Green Amendment Advocacy Victories
- Marple Township Commissioners Rely on Art 1 Section 27: Twp Commissioners reject damaging development that would have devastated treasured woodland, the Don Guanella Woods
Green Amendment Advocacy & Legal Ongoing
- Lights Out Norlite Ongoing Legal -- New York communities using Green Amendment to seek protection from hazardous air pollution emitting from industrial operation where the state has failed to take meaningful enforcement action needed to protect human health and the environment.
- Fresh Air For The Eastside Ongoing Legal -- New York Green Amendment legal action to protect communities from air pollution & greenhouse gas emissions appealed by the state. Legal briefings are currently ongoing.
- Amicus Brief Filed in Marple v. PUC Ongoing Legal -- read the amicus brief filed by Green Amendments For The Generations & partner organizations supporting the Town of Marple as they respond to the state's appeal. Brief focuses on the proper interpretation and application of the Pennsylvania Green Amendment for ensuring proper consideration of constitutional and environmental impacts.
Court Issued Legal Opinions
- Robinson Township, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania., PA Sup. Ct. Dec. 19, 2013 – Plurality Opinion
- PEDF v. Commonwealth, PA Sup Ct., June 20, 2017
- Montana Environmental Info Ctr V. Dept of Envtl Quality, MT Sup Ct, 1999
- Park County Envtl Comm’n & Greater Yellowstone Coalition v. MT DEQ & Lucky Minerals, MT Sup. Ct., Dec 8 2020
- Fresh Air for the Eastside, Inc. v. State of New York, Supreme Court State of New York County of Monroe, Dec 7. 2022
- Fresh Air For The East Side v. Town of Perinton, Supreme Court State of New York County of Monroe, Dec. 8, 2022
- Held v. Montana, First Judicial District Court, August 14, 2023