Have you heard about the water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan? Have you heard about the one right here in Hoosick Falls, New York?
Nationally, environmental protections are being dismantled and climate change is being dismissed. Yet, New York constitution state still does not provide a right to a clean, healthy environment. A Constitutional Convention can change that! It can propose an Environmental Bill of Rights to secure the right to clean water to drink and healthy air to breathe for us, for our children, and for our children’s children. Other states have done so. Let’s have New York say YES too!
New York is a proud model for the nation in environmental protection and conservation. The Forever Wild provision in the New York state constitution assures that the Catskill and Adirondack parks enjoy the highest degree of protection of wild lands in any state. However, as the pollution of drinking water in areas of the state like Hoosick Falls has vividly demonstrated, New York still must do much more to protect our environment and continue to lead.
An Environmental Bill of Rights would grant all New Yorkers a private right to clean water and healthy air and the ability to seek redress through the courts when this right is violated.
Recently, bill 6279 was submitted to the New York Assembly to add the following words to the New York state constitution:
“Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.”
This amendment passed the State Assembly but not the State Senate, killing it until next year. Its failure is an incredible shortcoming on the part of our legislature!
New York state should look to the state of Hawaii for an example of strong environmental provisions. In Hawaii:
Each person has the right to a clean and healthful environment, as defined by laws relating to environmental quality, including control of pollution and conservation, protection and enhancement of natural resources. Any person may enforce this right against any party, public or private, through appropriate legal proceedings…
If Hawaii can do it, why can’t we? Let’s vote YES for a right to clean water and healthy air!