News from Delaware Riverkeeper Network, a member of the Chester County Environment Alliance:
Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, was featured on the State Impact Pennsylvania documentary “Generations Yet To Come: The story of environmental rights in Pennsylvania,” which focuses on Article 1 Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, known as Pennsylvania’s Green Amendment. Van Rossum and her team were instrumental in the 2013 legal victory Robinson Township v Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that breathed life back into the amendment.
Van Rossum was the featured speaker at the Sept. 8, 2018, Chester County March for Climate Justice and Environment.
Read more in “DRN & 7 Towns Challenge & Defeat Act 13.” Excerpt:
…”The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its decision on December 19, 2013. In that decision the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Act 13 violates the Pennsylvania Constitution on the grounds that it violates the Environmental Rights Amendment. In doing so, the Court held that the right to pure water, clean air and a healthy environment are fundamental rights that must be given high-priority consideration and protection by every level of Pennsylvania’s government. The Court’s decision also struck down the shale gas industry’s effort to force every municipality in the state to allow gas drilling and related industrial operations in every zoning district. The Court’s decision upheld the ability of local governments to protect their local communities and natural resources through zoning….”
Watch the 26-minute documentary here, including also Franklin Kury [photo Kury speaking in the video], who as a young legislator secured passage of the state’s 1971 “Green Amendment,” which reads:
“The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”
But as the documentary brings out, municipalities still need to zone properly to keep threats to residents’ welfare out of residential districts. And some interviewees still uphold the industry point of view that the courts should defer to the legislature, which of course is heavily influenced by industry donations, and that “property rights” confer a right to pollute and degrade the environment. Constant vigilance is still needed!
Compare to pipeline operators’ current attempts to place pipelines wherever suits them?