Groups seek con­sti­tu­tional right to clean air, wa­ter

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

AL­BANY | En­vi­ron­men­tal and public pol­icy groups in New York are call­ing for a state con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment that would guar­an­tee res­i­dents a right to clean air and wa­ter.

En­vi­ron­men­tal Ad­vo­cates of New York and Ef­fec­tiveNY are pro­mot­ing the pro­posed amend­ment with on­line video ads Thurs­day fea­tur­ing chil­dren from Hoosick Falls, where wa­ter wells have been con­tam­i­nated by an in­dus­trial chem­i­cal.

The groups say a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment would give res­i­dents more power to hold state law­mak­ers and reg­u­la­tors ac­count­able for en­sur­ing a healthy en­vi­ron­ment.

Six states have en­vi­ron­men­tal rights pro­vi­sions in their con­sti­tu­tions. A 1971 En­vi­ron­men­tal Rights Amend­ment to Penn­syl­va­nia’s con­sti­tu­tion was the ba­sis for a state Supreme Court rul­ing in 2013 that said mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have a right to zone against shale gas de­vel­op­ment. Drilling in the underground shale has re­sulted in public health and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns.

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