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Environmental Rights Deserve Constitutional Protection!

UPDATE: the Assembly bill passed on April 28, 2018 and we now need to call on the Senate to pass the bill before them! Read below for more details.

The State of New York is facing a historic opportunity.

New York Senator David Carlucci and Assemblyman Steve Englebright introduced a bill in the Assembly and Senate to amend the state Constitution and enshrine every New Yorker’s “right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment,” as part of the Bill of Rights. The Assembly bill passed on April 28, 2018 and we now need to call on the senate to pass the bill before them.

It is commonly thought that New Yorkers have a right to clean water that is not going to make us sick, and to breathe air that won’t trigger health impacts like an asthma attack or lead to diseases like lung cancer and/or premature death. There is also a belief that there is a right for all to live, work and play in a protected environment. But the rights of New Yorkers to clean water, air and a healthful environment are not given the highest legal protection in the state of New York. In fact, the rights to free speech, freedom of assembly, to divorce, lotteries and even gambling are afforded higher recognition and protection in New York’s constitution than the peoples’ rights to clean water, clean air and a healthful environment.

For decades, the people of New York have relied federal and state legislation to protect their natural resources. And for decades, the laws have let them down.  New York water, air, and forests have been allowed to degrade in ways that are harming people’s lives. A Constitutional provision could help change that.

Establishing a civil environmental right will drive better government decision-making at all levels of government and will prevent situations or conditions in which land becomes too contaminated, water becomes too polluted, and air too dirty to support healthy lives, including a healthy economy.

In order to obtain this highest level of protection in New York, the bill must pass through both houses of the New York Legislature this year and again in 2019, before the people of New York will be given the opportunity to vote, on whether or not their right to pure water, clean air and a healthy environment will be protected by the state constitution.

Right now, we need the Senate to support and pass Senate Bill S5287 (S.5287(Carlucci)) currently before them. Every New York legislator needs to hear how important this environmental rights amendment is from their voters. Write to your representatives today and ask them to stand up for your fundamental environmental rights by co-sponsoring S.5287(Carlucci) and actively encouraging legislative leaders to bring up and pass the bill!

Two ways to write to your representative:

Use the form below to automatically be connected with your representative and feel free to use the sample text provided or edit to make it your own!

Or, you can write your own letter and send it directly via mail or email. Find your State Senator here:

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