Pennsylvanians’ Right to a Clean Environment

I got sidetracked yesterday and didn’t get out for a walk. My excuse? I spent my time watching a recorded keynote speech, the topic of which was the Pennsylvania constitution. Sound boring? Not at all. The speakers were standing up on behalf on the fundamental source of this blog: nature.

A key point that all Pennsylvanians should know is that there is a right–not a policy; not a guideline; not a pipe dream–written into our constitution, akin to free speech, freedom of religion, and peaceful assembly.

Article 1, section 27 states:

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.”

Read that slowly. Each word is succinct and meaningful. Every single branch of Pennsylvania government is considered a trustee of this right, and no amount of “economic progress” can justify its trampling. Know your rights and never let anyone belittle your ideals. And remember, your love for nature is so strongly shared, its care is written into constitutional law. maple

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