What is a Green Amendment?
Green Amendments are self executing provisions added to the bill of rights section of a constitution that recognize and protect the rights of all people. regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or income, including future generations, to pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments.
What’s Happening in New Jersey?
In 2020 the proposed Green Amendment bills ACR80/SCR30 (formerly ACR85/SCR134) were re-introduced to the New Jersey legislature.
As of October 2020, the proposed NJ Green Amendment has 42 sponsors in the Assembly and 12 sponsors in the Senate. Click here to see if your legislator is signed on! If they have not, consider reaching out to them and sharing your opinion on this powerful environmental protection idea.
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.
On the Senate side there is bi-partisan support. Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14) has led the charge and been joined by Senator Kip Bateman (R-16) to advance SCR30. On October 15, 2018, a bipartisan super-majority of the Senate Environment Committee passed SCR134. If you are interested to learn more about the impact of the proposed NJ Green Amendment, you can view the hearing at this link – the testimony was interesting, insightful and educational.
On the Assembly side, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin is joined by Assemblyman John McKeon and Assemblyman Daniel Benson as the primary sponsors of ACR80.
Who are our Partners in the state?
Green Amendments For The Generations has been working in partnership with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, as well as Clean Water Action, NJ Highlands Coalition, NJ Sierra, Environment NJ, and a team of committed attorneys from the state to lead the effort.
Here’s The Story, an Emmy nominated show that premiered in 2011 and is produced by acclaimed journalist Steve Rogers, is now featuring a two part show featuring the Green Amendment movement. With a focus on New Jersey as a case study, the show joins Maya as she explores the history of the Green Amendment movement and meets with environmental, political and legal leaders key to the movements past, present and future. Among those interviewed is Governor Phil Murphy, PA Senator Franklin Kury who originally conceived of the idea for PA, and the chief justice who wrote the iconic opinion that helped launch the movement. You can watch the show, see Facebook live chats with some of the key players, and see the full interviews that were conducted as part of the show here: Here’s the Story: The Green Amendment.
If you think this is an idea whose time has come, we need your signature on the petition we will be delivering to every assembly and senate member when the time is right, please sign on and share this link with friends and family: http://bit.ly/ISupportaNJGreenAmendment.
If you are head of an organization, consider joining the organization sign on letter to show your organization’s leadership on this statewide issue.
Want do to even more? Take this model resolution to your town leaders or county freeholders and urge them to pass their own. Want help making the proposal? Get in touch and we will schedule a time when Maya van Rossum, founder of this movement and the Delaware Riverkeeper, can join you to make the ask and answer any questions. Simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is important we continue to build strong support for this proposal. 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.
Want to be sure you do everything you can to help, and have a solid list of to dos you can share with a friend? Here are SEVEN things you can do.
Resources to help you learn more and spread the word
Wondering the questions that legislators and leaders ask about the Green Amendment concept and the best way to answer them? Take a look at our frequently asked questions sheet focused on NJ
New Jersey has a history of environmental racism that carries forward to this day. Among the benefits of a Green Amendment is that it will require equity in how New Jersey residents and communities are treated so there can be no more environmental sacrifice zones. If you want to learn more about New Jersey’s history of environmental racism here is a powerful piece: Sowing the Seeds of Environmental Justice.
DOCUMENTS TO HELP GET YOU INFORMED & ENGAGED
- New Jersey Green Amendment Quicksheet
- SCR134 Support Sign On Letter (2019-05-13)
- Press Release: Public conveys support of a Green Amendment to New Jersey legislators (2019-05-13)
- New Jersey Green Amendment Printable Petition
- Model Resolution Supporting Green Amendment to the NJ State Constitution
- Municipal Resolution Outreach Flyer
- SCR134 Organizational Sign On Letter (2018-10-15)
- Press Release on SCR134 Passing NJ Senate Energy and Environment Committee (2018-10-15)
- NJ Constitutional Amendment Fact Sheet
- Press Release on New Jersey Green Amendment Announcement (2017-11-30)
- Proposed Environmental Rights Amendment Bill Language
- Learn About New Jersey’s History of Environmental Racism – a history that a Green Amendment can help address
RESOLUTIONS IN SUPPORT OF A NJ GREEN AMENDMENT
- Essex County Board of Freeholders Resolution in Support of the NJ Green Amendment
- Medical Society of New Jersey Resolution in Support of the NJ Green Amendment
- Cape May Pt Resolution Supporting Green Amendment to NJ constitution
- Aberdeen Township Resolution Supporting a NJ Green Amendment
- Borough Bradley Beach RESOLUTION 2020.77 GREEN AMENDMENT
- Aberdeen Council takes stand for state environmental rights, CentralJersey.com, 5/14/2020
- Shaping Up for a Big Fight in NJ on Question of Right to a Clean Environment, NJ Spotlight, 10/17/2018
Bill Would Put Right to Clean Environment on Ballot With New Constitutional Amendment, Press of Atlantic City, 11/30/2017
- New Jersey Bill Would Establish Constitutional Right to Clean Air and Water, WBGO 88.3, 11/30/2017
- Several State Legislators Want Constitutional Right Clean Air, Water. Politico 11/30/2017
- Will New Jersey Make a Healthy Environment an Inalienable Right? NJ Spotlight 12/1/2017
How and When did this all start in the great state of New Jersey?
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 amend Article 1 of the state constitution to recognize that “Every person has a right to a clean and healthy environment….”, that the State has a duty to serve as trustee of the state’s natural resources, and must conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all people. Since its original proposal there has been significant forward progress.
|Fred Madden Jr||Cosponsor||4||D|
|NJ Assembly Members|
|Valerie Vainieri Huttle||Cosponsor||37||D|
|P. Christopher Tully||Cosponsor||38||D|