Monday, September 20, 2021


The American Rescue Plan could provide essential training to boost jobs in construction, and we explore a trauma-informed approach to preventing marijuana use in teens.


Pfizer says its vaccine is safe for children ages 5 to 11, travel restrictions soon will ease for vaccinated international visitors to the U.S., and a Texas doctor who performed an abortion under new restrictions is sued.


Lawsuits stall debt relief for America's Black farmers; Idaho hospitals using "critical care" protocols; grant money boosts rural towns in Utah and more conservation acreage could protect the iconic sage grouse.

NY Environmental Rights Amendment Heads to Voters


Friday, 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.

get more stories like this via email

This, year the theme of Sea Otter Awareness Week is the species' key role in the mosaic of the ecosystem. (Wikimedia Commons)


MONTEREY BAY, Calif. - This week, conservation groups are celebrating Sea Otter Awareness Week with online and in-person events across the state…


LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Admission to any state park in Nevada is free this coming Saturday, as part of the first Nevada Public Lands Week - with a series …

Social Issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A new Redistricting Advisory Council announced last week by Gov. Tom Wolf's office will focus on reducing gerrymandering as new …

The Nature Conservancy says the U.S. loses nearly 1 million acres of forest lands each year through development and other factors, reducing nature's ability to capture and store carbon dioxide. (Adobe Stock)


DULUTH, Minn. - As Minnesota looks to address the impact of climate change on the region, land managers and policymakers are reminded of the role …

Health and Wellness

By Savanna Strott for Eye on Ohio, The Ohio Center for Journalism Broadcast version by Emily Scott for Ohio News Connection. COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio …

According to the CDC, around 181 million Americans have received COVID-19 vaccinations. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- One in five unvaccinated Kentuckians say they are open to getting the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new poll from the …

Health and Wellness

HELENA, Mont. - It can be hard for people with disabilities to afford the assistive technology they need to perform daily activities. A program in …

Social Issues

LA CONNER, Wash. - The exhibit of an artist who depicted the lives of farmworkers in northwest Washington has been recognized for its quality…


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