Advocates from the Hudson Valley Urge a YES Vote on Environmental Rights Amendment

For Immediate Release: October 15, 2021

Proposal 2 would give every New Yorker a right to clean air, clean water, and a healthful environment

Kingston –Today, Senator Michelle Hinchey and advocates from across the Hudson Valley rallied in Kingston to urge support for a constitutional amendment that would give all New Yorkers a right to clean air and water (Proposal 2). Appearing on this fall’s general election ballot, the measure would amend Article 1 of the State Constitution by adding: “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.”

Because no one should get sick because of their zip code, the Environmental Rights amendment will help make sure all New Yorkers have clean air and water. The amendment will also:

  • Help New York’s economy thrive by keeping people healthy and lowering health care costs for businesses and families
  • Require that government officials consider the environment in decision making
  • Protect communities of color that have faced higher levels of air and water pollution for decades

Passing this amendment would make New York just the third state in the U.S. to recognize protecting environmental rights as an inalienable right.

More information on the campaign to pass Environmental Rights in New York can be found at

“Clean air and clean water are basic human rights, and yet, every day across our state, New Yorkers are left without access to these necessities,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey. “For too long, we have treated our right to a healthy and safe environment as a privilege, and this November, we have a historic opportunity to change that by adding clean air and water rights to our State Constitution. I was proud to co-sponsor the groundbreaking legislation to make this ballot initiative possible, and I am honored to stand with a diverse coalition of partners as we continue to build a legacy of climate-forward progress in New York.”

“Unfortunately, across the state there are New Yorkers who suffer because the air they breathe or the water they drink is polluted. No one should have their health impacted simply because of where they live. That’s why voting YES on Prop 2 is so important, because all New Yorkers, no matter the color of their skin, or how much money they have, or where they live, have a right to clean air and clean water. Voting YES will ensure that right. ”- Peter IwanowiczExecutive Director of Environmental Advocates NY and leader in the ‘Vote YES for Clean Air and Water’ coalition.

“Clean air, and clean water should be recognized as inalienable rights, because that is exactly what they are. And the only way to ensure that New Yorkers have those legal rights is by voting for Proposal 2 to amend the State Constitution. This is an important opportunity that New Yorkers shouldn’t let pass by.” – Jonathan BixExecutive Director and Co-Founder, For the Many

“By making access to clean air and water a basic right, the Environmental Rights amendment promises to be a game-changer in efforts to halt and root out systemic environmental injustices that plague so many Hudson Valley communities. Holding ourselves and our elected officials accountable for ensuring that clean air and water and a healthy environment are available to all is a critical first step in creating a brighter future for neighborhoods that have been denied access to them for far too long.” – Althea Mullarkey, Assistant Director Advocacy for Scenic Hudson

“New York is on its way to creating meaningful and lasting change by recognizing that the environmental movement must be a movement for the people.  Environmental justice is the key to achieving true justice for everyone, and this work begins with granting the inalienable right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment for all New Yorkers for generations to come. Thank you to Senator Hinchey and her team for putting people first and for your continued support in this movement.” – Taylor Jaffe, Program Associate, Catskill Mountainkeeper

Barbara Stirewalt, Vice President and General Manager of Mohonk Mountain House, said, “Mohonk Mountain House has a 152-year commitment to environmental stewardship through earth-friendly activities and design features, an extensive energy saving and recycling program and green initiatives that preserve the land and educate guests. We are guided by our duty to protect our environment, ensuring that it remains pristine for generations to come. We support giving New Yorkers a constitutional right to clean air and clean water and thank Senator Hinchey and this vast Hudson Valley-based coalition for raising awareness on the importance of maintaining our natural resources.”

“The communities living alongside the Hudson River have always been at the forefront of environmental progress and the fight for clean water,” said Riverkeeper Senior Manager of Government Affairs, Jeremy Cherson. “On November 2nd, Riverkeeper encourages voters to say yes to adding the right to clean air, clean water and a healthful environment to New York State’s Constitution.”

Larry Tse, Farmer at Dig Acres and Chapter Leader of the Hudson Valley Young Farmers Coalition said, “Clean air and water are vital to a functioning agriculture system that provides nutritious and sustainable food to New Yorkers across the state. New York farmers strongly support the Green Amendment so that we know our way of life is being protected and we can continue growing healthy, sustainable into the future.”

The Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation represents 103,000 union families across seven counties: Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster, supports the above-referenced legislation. This bill would amend the NYS Constitution to enshrine the environmental bill of rights and clarify that all New Yorkers have the right to clean drinking water, clean air and a healthful environment.  The health and safety of all New Yorkers is a fundamental concern of the labor movement. Passage of this bill will lead to investments in clean drinking water projects, improving wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, development of new technologies in energy, the preservation and responsible oversight of parklands and contribute to the long-term health and safety of New Yorkers.  Passage of this act will prioritize these issues and set a legal and civil foundation that will mean job creation in the short term and a healthier environment for generations to come. It will also clearly establish that environmental health and safety of citizens is a priority of New York State. Therefore, in unison with the New York State AFL CIO the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation urges this bill be passed. – Sandra Oxford, Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation Director-AFL-CIO