Monday, September 27, 2021


The House could vote this week on the Build Back Better infrastructure bill, which contains resources to fight climate change, and the NTSB investigates an Amtrak derailment in north-central Montana.


A government shutdown looms as the Senate prepares to vote on the debt ceiling, former President Trump holds a rally in Georgia, the U.S. reopens a Texas border crossing, and an Amtrak train crash kills three in Montana.


A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Court Ruling Called Victory for Environmental Rights


Thursday, June 22, 2017   

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Environmental advocates are calling a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court a landmark decision for public natural resources.

The ruling came in a case challenging the use of proceeds from oil and gas leases on public lands for anything other than environmental preservation.

The 4-to-2 ruling, issued Tuesday, broadens the interpretation of the Environmental Rights Amendment to the state constitution.

John Childe, an attorney with the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation, maintains the ruling should stand as a model for other states and nations.

"It makes it an inalienable right of the people to have their public natural resources protected, for both the people now and for all future generations," he states.

The court ruled that the governor and the General Assembly are trustees, not proprietors of public land. The state argued that would hinder economic development.

For years, state leaders have acted as if they were the owners of the state's natural resources, which Childe says allowed them to make changes to public lands, or even sell them.

"As the trustees, you do not have that authority,” he explains. “You can only do what the trust duty imposes on you, which in this case is to conserve and maintain the public natural resource."

In 2009, former Gov. Tom Corbett allowed some of the royalties from oil and gas leases on public lands to be used as part of the state's general fund.

According to Childe, Tuesday's ruling means those funds now must remain within the trust and only be used to protect the state's natural resources under the trust. That could have immediate fiscal and policy implications for the state.

"Because the existing royalty, as the court suggests in its opinion, will be in the amount of hundreds of millions of dollars," he points out.

The Environmental Rights Amendment, Article 1, Section 27 of the state constitution, was passed by referendum in 1971.

get more stories like this via email

Many people with developmental disabilities couldn't receive meaningful day services during the pandemic. (Adobe stock)

Health and Wellness

BALTIMORE -- Spurred on by COVID challenges, a grant from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council to two human services providers is …


RUBY MOUNTAINS, Nev. -- Nevada is the driest state in the nation, yet few of its rivers and streams have federal protections. Now a new report …


ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. -- This weekend, athletes from across the nation gathered in South Pass City to Run the Red, a series of marathons through the Red …

With census data showing a more diverse population in Minnesota, advocates say it's important to adopt policies that meet the needs of growing racial groups, including older residents. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The challenges facing older Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Minnesotans will be the focal point of a virtual forum tomorrow…

Health and Wellness

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - Missourians have a little more than a month until open enrollment for health-care coverage at, and medical experts …

Since Section 232's implementation, U.S. steel producers have announced the reopening of facilities in at least 15 states. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

TOLEDO, Ohio -- As the Biden administration engages in talks with the European Union about dropping tariffs on its steel exports, many U.S.-based …

Social Issues

LINCOLN, Neb. - A coalition of Nebraska community organizations and supporters are collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that would raise the …

Social Issues

MADISON, Wis. - Prescription drug costs are climbing faster than wages for the average Wisconsin resident. That's according to a new analysis…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021