For the Generations
For the Generations: Ensuring Constitutional-level environmental protections for healthy people and quality lives; for today’s generation and tomorrow’s.
Our right to pure water, clean air and a healthy environment are inherent fundamental rights retained by the people. There can be no life, liberty or happiness without a healthy environment.
The Groundwork has Been Laid for a New Era of Environmental Protection:
While for years the Pennsylvania environmental community has looked to the promise of Pennsylvania’s constitution and its promise of “pure water”, “clean air” and “preservation of the natural … environment”, the fulfillment of that promise had for a long time alluded them; consistently swept aside by the Pennsylvania legislature and its courts. So much so that when the Delaware Riverkeeper Network included the PA Constitution’s Environmental Rights Amendment as a cornerstone of our legal attack on the pro-drilling legislation known as Act 13 many in the community derided us as wasting our limited legal briefing space and resources.
IMG_0640.JPGBut, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in Robinson Township, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et.al. v. Commonwealth (Dec. 19, 2013), vindicated the importance and power of the Environmental Rights Amendment of the Pennsylvania Constitution; it promised all generations of Pennsylvanians that they will benefit from pure water, clean air and a healthy environment, giving them the ability to defend that right in the courts if it is violated.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision should inspire a new generation of environmental protection in Pennsylvania – inspiring strong, environmentally protective legislation by newly emboldened and empowered legislators, and supporting strong litigation when industry dollars are used to drive bad legislation and bad political acts. The decision should also inspire other states, and even the federal government, to construct their own social contracts promising pure water, clean air and healthy environments for present and future generations.
The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is establishing a new initiative, For the Generations, to:
- to ensure that the Pennsylvania Environmental Rights Amendment is further strengthened in the wake of the PA Supreme Court Decision;
- to pursue and secure constitutional protection of environmental rights in states across the nation;
- to pursue and secure recognition of environmental rights at the federal level through constitutional amendment; and
- to ensure governments at the local level, state level, and federal level honor the rights of all people to pure water, clean air and healthy environments in the laws they enact, the decisions they make, and the actions they pursue.
If you would like to talk about how you can begin a movement in your state to secure meaningful constitutional environmental protections for present and future generations check out our resources on this page and reach out to the Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum (email at firstname.lastname@example.org) to talk about the situation in your state and how you can help make a change.
A copy of the Supreme Court decision Robinson Township, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et.al. v. Commonwealth can be found here.
How Your Organization Can Partner Up:
Our win in the historic case of Robinson Twp, Delaware Riverkeeper Network vs. Commonwealth of PA not only secured substantive authority for the PA Environmental Rights Amendment, but it secured a declaration of the inherent and indefeasible nature of the rights to pure water, clean air and a healthy environment that should provide better protections for Pennsylvanians and Inspiration for other states to pursue these rights.
How can we join forces to make it happen?
If you are an organization in Pennsylvania: We are at a critical stage now with this Supreme Court decision — it is important we are working together to advance advocacy and litigation that will strengthen the PA Supreme Court ruling and that will prevent the industry and the state from undermining it. Because future interpretations and applications of the PA Supreme Court decision Robinson Twp, Delaware Riverkeeper Network vs. Commonwealth will have statewide implications, including for the Delaware River watershed, and because the Delaware Riverkeeper Network played such a key role in securing this historic environmental win, we have created the Generations Project and are working with individuals and organizations throughout Pennsylvania to advance it through both advocacy and when appropriate through litigation.
The Delaware Riverkeeper Network has a legal program that allows us to pursue these kinds of cases. But as with any legal action it is important we have strong local partners to help ensure we have participated in the process from early on, and we need members that are affected so as to support our legal standing in the courtroom. So if you are interested in joining forces with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network to advance the findings of Robinson Twp, Delaware Riverkeeper Network vs. Commonwealth consider signing your organization up as a member, and encourage your individual members to do so as well.
As with all litigation where the Delaware Riverkeeper Network is a part and provides the legal resources, our organization will be a lead plaintiff in the case providing resources, experienced decision making, and a collaborative spirit.
If your organization would like to join sign up at: http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/join/Membership.aspx
Be sure to sign up your local organization, and also to encourage your individual members to join, so we have all the representation we need to withstand the inevitable challenge by the industry to get the case dismissed attempting to assert we are not adversely impacted by the actions we are challenging.
If you are an organization outside Pennsylvania:
If you are an organization outside Pennsylvania who would like to learn more about how to pursue and secure a successful Environmental Rights Amendment, to discuss legal strategy for advancing or replacing an existing constitutional provision, to be on the cutting edge of what we hope will be a growing nationwide movement to advance the cause of securing constitutional environmental rights for everyone in the nation and in so doing advancing the message that thesis a right for everyone in the world, then please contact Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper (email@example.com) to joining the For the Generations movement.