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On February 1, 2019, an updated and improved version of Maryland’s Green Amendment was formally proposed by MD Delegate Stephen Lafferty. HB 472 would add a Green Amendment to the bill of rights section of Maryland’s constitution. Delegate Lafferty was joined by Delegates Boyce, Cardin, Charkoudian, Kettleman, Korman, R. Lewis, Lierman, Moon, Mosby, Smith, Stein and Wells.  At the end of the legislative session the proposal was pulled back by legislators before a vote was taken, but this second pass at a proposed Maryland Green Amendment shows the growing interest and support in the state.

Maya van Rossum delivers keynote at the Rachel Carson House, May 2019.

May 2019, Maya van Rossum, the founder of the Green Amendment For The Generations movement was honored to deliver the keynote address at the annual Rachel Carson Open House in Maryland, hosted by the Rachel Carson Landmark Alliance, in the same house where Carson wrote the seminal Silent Spring. The mission of the Green Amendment movement resonates with Rachel Carson’s visionary observation that “if the Bill of Rights contains no guarantee that a citizen shall be secure against lethal poisons distributed either by private individuals or public officials, it is surely only because our forefathers, despite their considerable wisdom and foresight, could conceive of no such problems.”

The Maryland Green Amendment, as proposed, would explicitly protect the right to a healthy environment now and in the future by enshrining it in the state’s declaration of rights. It proposes lasting protections for breathable air, drinkable water, and makes the state a fiduciary for equal access to a healthy environment. It establishes nature as a trust held in common, with the state as trustee, and includes the right to a balanced and stable climate.

Background:

On March 6, 2018, Maryland’s Senate Committee on Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs held a hearing regarding the first modern iteration of a proposed Maryland Green Amendment.   The legislative session ended without a vote being taken on the proposal.  This was fine because while the proposal had many of the basic fundamentals needed in a successful Green Amendment, there was also some language of concern that Green Amendments For The Generations advocated be removed or changed. You can read about that in the testimony submitted by clicking here.

A second proposal was advanced in 2019, HB 472.  Green Amendments For The Generations worked with the Maryland community  to craft the  strong language found in HB472.  The Committee on Environment and Transportation held a hearing on February 20, 2019 with many speaking in support.  You can read the testimony submitted by Green Amendment For The Generations founder Maya van Rossum here.  Again, no vote was actually taken.  And ultimately the proposal was withdrawn for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with the public support for the Maryland Green Amendment or the support of key legislators.  It was a political decision but one that should not stop  forward progress.

The community effort to pass a Maryland Green Amendment is growing.  Be part of the effort, send your letter of support to legislators today.

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