Warren County OKs adding “Green Amendment” to New York constitution

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QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – In their monthly meeting, the Warren County Board of Supervisors passed resolution 370, voicing their support of a “Green Amendment” being added to New York’s state constitution, after requests from viewers in the chat on the meeting’s livestream on YouTube.

The amendment, which passed the state legislature in April, would guarantee “each person shall have the right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.” It outlines threats to those rights, including climate change, pollutants in the air and PFOA in drinking water.

The amendment has been the focus of activism from Green Amendments for the Generations, a group that was present in the live meeting chat. They urge those invested in getting the resolution passed to write to their state representatives, sign a petition and share information with others.

The resolution specifies that existing environmental laws on pollution, conservation and contamination exist, but says “these laws do not support the notion that clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment are fundamental inalienable rights.”

Mike Wild, Queensbury at-large supervisor, asked for clarification on one bit of phrasing. The resolution says that the “Green Amendment” would make natural resources “proactively protected.”

“My concern is, primarily from an economic development standpoint, ‘proactively protected’ could mean that there’s going to be more stringent environmental regulations that could impact our local businesses,” Wild said. “I worry about those words.”

Wild brought up the fact that the region’s economy is as industrial as it is tourism-focused.

Other supervisors said they understood the phrasing to refer to handing issues facing the environment before they get out of hand; not putting restrictions on local companies.

Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer pointed out that the phrasing is just for the county resolution, not the state amendment.

She also responded to a question from Queensbury Supervisor Rachel Seeber, who asked if there was county money set aside for initiatives the resolution would spark.

“There was money, there was a proposal for a bond act to support this,” Braymer said. “Life changed, and we’ve had to put that off.”

Next, the state bill must pass the next session of the legislature. Then a statewide referendum can take place.

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