Western New York Advocates Urge a YES Vote on Environmental Rights Amendment

For Immediate Release: October 14, 2021

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

Buffalo – Today, advocates and elected leaders from Western New York rallied in Buffalo 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 https://www.ourairourwaterny.org/

“As New Yorkers start going to the polls in just a few days, they have an opportunity to vote for a measure whose impact will resonate for years. Prop 2 will bestow a new right to clean air, clean water, and a healthful environment upon every New Yorker today and for generations to come. I encourage all New Yorkers who value good health and a clean environment, both today and for the future, to vote YES on Prop 2,” said Peter Iwanowicz, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates NY and leader in the ‘Vote YES for Clean Air and Water’ coalition.

“Fifteen words that cost us virtually nothing but ensure the health of our families and environment beyond measure. Fifteen words to confirm our rights to clean air and clean water, to require accountability from those who would jeopardize our families’ and ecological health for profit. If we are to take meaningful action to protect New York’s natural resources for the next generation, it is critical that voters in New York State flip their ballot over this coming election to vote yes on Proposition 2. Adding 15 words to our state constitution will guarantee our rights to clean air, clean water ​and a healthful environment for all.” – Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper

“Prop 2 is a win-win for the environment and the economy. Not only will this amendment guarantee every New Yorker a right to clean air and water, but it will also help stimulate New York’s economy by encouraging investment in water infrastructure and clean energy. And that in turn will create good paying middle-class jobs. I encourage all my brothers and sisters in labor to vote YES on Prop 2.”- Peter DeJesus, President of the WNY Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO

“Despite our strongly held value that everyone deserves clean air and water, that has not been the reality for far too many people. Here in WNY, we’ve witnessed drinking water contaminated with harmful chemicals, neighborhoods exposed to toxic waste sites, and air that is unsafe to breathe,” said Brian Smith, Associate Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE). “This November, we have the opportunity to add to our State Constitution so it will reflect our strongly held values of clean water, safe air, and environmental justice. We urge New Yorkers to vote yes on Prop 2 to enshrine the fundamental right to clean water, clean air, and healthful environment into our State Constitution.”

“The Western New York Environmental Alliance encourages all New York voters to vote in favor of amending the New York State Constitution to include the simple but powerful phrase: “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water and a healthful environment. We view this as a critical step in addressing social justice inequities and in helping to promote and sustain a healthy environment for current and future generations.” – John Whitney, Chair of the Western New York Environmental Alliance

“When New Yorkers go to the voting booth this fall they will have the opportunity to help repair decades of environmental injustice by voting yes on ballot proposal #2, Environmental Rights. Too often the right to clean air, water and healthy communities is determined by one’s zip code and skin color, and decision makers fail to recognize everyone’s innate claim to environmental health when siting smoke stacks and discharge pipes. Changing the New York State Constitution to reflect this right is a first step toward justice.” Sara Shultz, Chair of the Sierra Club’s Niagara Group