landscape and smokestacks


Beginning in the 1970s, several states added environmental rights amendments, also known as “Green Amendments,” to their constitutions. The wording of the amendments can be as broad as the right to a “clean and healthful environment,” or it can enumerate specific rights such as clean air, clean water, or aesthetic environmental values. 

Some constitutions allow citizens to enforce environmental quality rights against the government and private parties. This is an active field of state constitutional litigation, especially as citizens sue state governments to force action against climate change.

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A project of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law