Green Amendments: Vehicles for Environmental Justice

November 2021
ELR 10903
Samuel L. Brown, Maya K. van Rossum, Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Terry A. Sloan, and Artemisio Romero y Carver

Despite existing laws, communities across the United States are exposed to dangerous environmental conditions that can have devastating effects on public health. One emerging mechanism to address these issues are “green amendments,” self-executing provisions added to a state constitution that recognize and protect the rights of all people, including future generations, to pure water, clean air, and a stable climate. On July 22, 2021, the Environmental Law Institute and Green Amendments for the Generations co-hosted a panel of experts that explored the potential for green amendments to secure the right to a healthy environment and help secure environmental justice for all. Below, we present a transcript of that discussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.

Samuel L. Brown (moderator) is a Partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. Maya K. van Rossum is the founder of the Green Amendment Movement and Green Amendments for the Generations. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez is a New Mexico State Senator and former Professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law. Terry A. Sloan is the Director of Southwest Native Cultures and the Intergovernmental Tribal Liaison for the city of Albuquerque. Artemisio Romero y Carver is the Co-Founder of Youth United for Climate Crisis Action.

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