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At least 23 dead in tornado-spawning storms sweeping central US, new report finds OR workforce grows, but gaps should be addressed; AM radio in every car? The debate hits Missouri; Proposal would make MI State Capitol a 'gun-free zone.'

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President Biden delivers a Memorial Day address, former president Trump's hush money trial is poised for jury deliberations, and the Justice Department warns of threats to election officials.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Climate Activists Organize for 'Green Amendment' in Maine

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Monday, August 28, 2023   

Youth climate activists in Maine are working to enshrine "the right to a clean and healthy environment" into their state's constitution.

It is called the Pine Tree Amendment, and activists say it is part of a growing movement nationwide, aiming to hold the government accountable for policies contributing to climate change.

Audrey Hufnagel, a high school student and organizer for Maine Youth for Climate Justice, said the amendment would be on par with the right to free speech.

"The Pine Tree Amendment also includes these rights for future generations," Hufnagel explained. "That's also very important to me as a climate activist."

Hufnagel noted she was inspired by the recent court ruling favoring Montana students, who alleged the state has violated their environmental rights by promoting the use of fossil fuels. Critics in Maine, including farming and fishing groups, argued the "green amendment" would result in endless litigation.

Climate activists said wildfire smoke and catastrophic flooding in the Northeast this summer have highlighted the urgent need for a green amendment. Hufnagel pointed out the coalition behind the effort is growing, with bipartisan and multigenerational support.

"Everyone has these different; maybe different beliefs, different places they're coming from," Hufnagel acknowledged. "But we can all kind of come together around this need for basic environmental rights, so I think that's very powerful."

Activists will need two-thirds majority support in the Maine Legislature to amend the state's constitution, but they are optimistic. Green amendments are already enshrined in the constitutions of three states, including Montana, New York and Pennsylvania.


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