New York's Green Amendment For The Generations
October 12, 2022
The Environmental Rights Amendment: By and For New Yorkers
The passage of the Environmental Rights Amendment (New York’s “Green Amendment”) is great news for all New Yorkers, especially environmental justice communities and the wider climate justice movement. This presentation discusses the ERA and how we can collectively advance and strengthen its protections, focusing on the role of community and advocacy in this work.
- Prof Rebecca Bratspies, CUNY SChool of Law
- Anthony Rogers-Wright, New York Lawers for the Public Interest
- Maya van Rossum, Green Amendment For The Generations
- Michael Youhana, EarthJustice
- Moderator: Kate Kurera, Environmental Advocates NY
A New York Green Amendment: Balancing Power and Equity in EJ Communities:
A panel discussion moderated by Mike Harrington, Assistant Director, Tishman Environment and Design Center. Panelists Include:
- Maya K. van Rossum, Founder, Green Amendments for the Generations
- Eddie Bautista, Executive Director, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance
- Kate Kurera, Deputy Director, Environmental Advocates NY
- Christine Appah, Senior Staff Attorney, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest Environmental Justice Program
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 York?
In 2017, Assemblyman Steve Englebright first proposed bill A6279, New York’s Green Amendment. A parallel provision has been proposed in the NY Senate by Senator David Carlucci. While the bill was solidly supported in the Assembly the Senate fell short. But two years later, in 2019, the bill was repurposed and began to advance.
On April 9, 2019, Green Amendments For the Generations, key New York lawmakers and a coalition of groups announced plans to push for approval of a Green Amendment Bill by the New York legislature. Watch the press conference here.
As of April 30, 2019 the New York legislators, in both the state Assembly and Senate, voted for first passage of a proposed amendment to the NY State Constitution (A2064/S2072) that would recognize and protect the inalienable right to clean water, clean air and a healthful environment. The vote count was overwhelmingly in support of passage with senators voting for passage 45 to 17 and the Assembly members voting 110-34. 90 organizations have signed on to a letter in support of the first passage.
As of February 9, 2021 both the New York State Senate and Assembly voted to add a Green Amendment (A1368/S528) to the state constitution. The NYS Senate voted 48-14 for second passage and the NYS Assembly voted 124-25 for second passage. The bill will be placed on the New York state ballot for the people to vote upon in November.
While for years there have been provisions discussing various environmental issues in Article XIV, the provisions do not have the high level strength needed to recognize the inherent and indefeasible rights of people to a healthy environment and to provide those rights the same level of protection given to the right to free speech, to freedom of religion and other fundamental rights the people of New York hold dear. But New York is poised to remedy that with its Green Amendment proposal.
Who Are Our NY Partners?
Green Amendments For The Generations has been working with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Environmental Advocates NY, and the NY Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club to support constitutional level protection for environmental rights in New York’s constitution.
Catch up on our New York Green Amendment Virtual Events
Our Three Part Webinar Series:
- Part 1: Overview – Watch here!
- Part 2: A Legal Perspective – Watch here!
- Part 3: Taking Action – Watch here!
Resources to help you learn more and spread the word.
Find lots of fact sheets, webinars, and more at our Green Amendments For The Generations resources page.
- How Environmental Law Can Protect People, Not Polluters — Interview on Midday WNYC
- Increasing Environmental Protections in New York — Interview with Capital Tonight
- Press Release – First Passage of New York Green Amendment (2019-05-01)
- Press Release – NYS Senate Second Passages of NY Green Amendment
- Press Release – NYS Assembly Second Passes a Green Amendment a Second Time
- Town of Brighton (Monroe County)
- Town of DeWitt (Onondaga County) (2020-12-7)
- Town of Ulysses (Tompkins County) (2019-04-24)
- Village of Interlaken (Seneca County) (2019-03-21)
- City of Kingston (Ulster County)
- City of Newburgh (Orange County)
- Tompkins County
- Warren County (2020-10-14)