PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - March 9, 2021 


IA reporter trial renews calls to protect press freedoms; California movement to ban new gas stations is spreading.


2021Talks - March 9, 2021 


The House votes on the American Rescue Plan, President Biden signs orders to advance gender equity, and with legislation pending to protect voting rights, pressure grows to end the Senate tactic of the filibuster.

NY Environmental Rights Amendment Heads to Voters

Downloading Audio

Click to download

We love that you want to share our Audio! And it is helpful for us to know where it is going.
Media outlets that are interested in downloading content should go to www.newsservice.org
Click Here if you do not already have an account and need to sign up.
Please do it now, as the option to download our audio packages is ending soon

If approved by voters, the Environmental Bill of Rights would add the rights to clean air and water to Article 1 of the New York State Constitution. (Natali/Adobe Stock)
If approved by voters, the Environmental Bill of Rights would add the rights to clean air and water to Article 1 of the New York State Constitution. (Natali/Adobe Stock)
February 12, 2021

ALBANY, N. Y. - New York is poised to become one of only three states to enshrine the inalienable rights to clean air and water in its state Constitution.

The State Assembly this week passed the "Environmental Bill of Rights" for a second time, and the measure now will be on the state ballot in November.

If approved by voters, the amendment would add 15 words to the New York Constitution: "Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment."

According to Kate Kurera, deputy director of the Environmental Advocates of New York, the amendment makes protecting the environment a fundamental responsibility of state government.

"It is a paradigm shift in thinking about how we regulate the environment," said Kurera, "taking it from a precautionary principle - because this says your right to breathe clean air or drink clean water cannot be infringed upon."

Opponents of the amendment say more environmental regulations aren't needed, and predict it could lead to a flood of lawsuits claiming environmental rights have been violated.

But Kurera pointed out that similar state constitutional amendments in Pennsylvania and Montana haven't opened the litigation floodgates. She said she thinks it would strengthen the ability to enforce laws and regulations already on the books.

"You'll have your same challenges to environmental projects that you always have, and you'll have a new tool," said Kurera. "And hopefully, that tool will provide justice where it actually is needed. You have people in Hoosick Falls who still don't have clean water."

She added the courts would help define and clarify the scope and impact of the amendment if it became a subject of litigation.

Kurera noted the amendment had bipartisan support when it passed both houses of the Legislature in two consecutive legislative sessions. And she said she feels confident voters will approve the measure when it goes on the ballot in November.

"I think the majority of people when they're faced with that question, 'do you think you deserve the right to clean air, clean water and live in a healthy environment,' I would be hard-pressed to find a New Yorker, regardless of their political status, to say 'no,'" said Kurera.

More than 70 organizations had signed a letter to legislators supporting passage of the Environmental Bill of Rights.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY