ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On this year’s general election ballot, voters are asked if an amendment should be added to New York State’s Constitution to “establish the right of each person to clean air and water and a healthful environment.”
“This campaign to add an environmental right to New York State’s Constitution actually started… about five years ago. We had been working with a number of citizens groups here in the Capital Region and Hoosick Falls,” said Environmental Advocates NY Executive Director Peter Iwanowicz.
He says there’s currently no expressed law in the New York State Constitution that guarantees the right to drink clean water and breathe clean air.
But the proposal has come under fire from some Agriculture groups, who say it’s too broad and will lead to lawsuits. In a statement, the New York State Farm Bureau said, “…This has potential implications for farmers who may face new legal challenges from anyone who disagrees with their farm practices, undermining strict, science-based environmental regulations already in place in New York State…”
Farm Owner and Vice Chair of the Northeast Dairy Producers Association Keith Kimball says, “The right to clean air and clean water and a healthful environment sounds great at face value, but the ambiguity and lack of clarity is dangerous, not only to our family businesses, but to the state agencies that regulate us.”
“What I say to those who are opposed to this — from the sort of business perspective — that if you’re not poisoning air or water, this amendment really isn’t going to bother you at all,” said Iwanowicz.
New York State’s general election ballot has five statewide proposals for voters to consider.