Policy Update

Ten States Pursuing Green Amendments to Constitutionally Protect the Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment



NCEL Point of Contact

Kate Burgess
Conservation Program Manager


This year, 10 states are considering constitutional amendments called Green Amendments, to ensure the right to clean air and a healthy environment. In March, New York passed their bipartisan Green Amendment (S528) for the second time, which now puts it on the ballot in November for the public to vote on. If it passes, New York will join Montana and Pennsylvania as states with constitutional environmental protections.

Other states considering legislation this year include HawaiiNew MexicoOregonKentuckyMarylandMaineNew JerseyNew YorkWashington, and West Virginia.

Green Amendments are added to the Bill of Rights section of a state’s constitution. They put one’s right to clean air and a healthy environment on par with other indefeasible civil liberties. Green Amendments also address environmental injustices by providing more equitable state constitutional protections for environmental and public health, and by featuring inclusive language; Green Amendments are to benefit “all the people.” 

For more information about Green Amendments, visit ncel.net/green-amendment