New York City Council Header
File #: Res 1508-2020    Version: * Name: Supporting the passage of the Green Amendment to the NYS Constitution.
Type: Resolution Status: Committee
Committee: Committee on Environmental Protection
On agenda: 12/17/2020
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution supporting the passage of the Green Amendment to the New York State Constitution.
Sponsors: Costa G. Constantinides, Ben Kallos
Council Member Sponsors: 2
Attachments: 1. Res. No. 1508, 2. December 17, 2020 - Stated Meeting Agenda with Links to Files, 3. Hearing Transcript - Stated Meeting 12-17-20, 4. Minutes of the Stated Meeting - December 17, 2020

Res. No. 1508


Resolution supporting the passage of the Green Amendment to the New York State Constitution.


By Council Members Constantinides and Kallos


Whereas, Article 1 of the New York State Constitution contains language explicitly protecting civil liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of religious worship, freedom of assembly, habeas corpus, and equal protection under the law, however, it does not currently contain any provision guaranteeing New York residents access to a healthy environment; and

Whereas, The Green Amendment to the New York State Constitution would codify in the State’s bill of rights that each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment; and

Whereas, A growing body of scientific research suggests that environmental hazards in the United States are often inequitably distributed, with poor communities of color more likely to be exposed to disproportionately high levels of environmental toxins, and more likely to suffer the consequences of proximity to polluting infrastructure; and

Whereas, Studies have shown that residence in environmental justice communities is associated with higher levels of infant and adult mortality, certain cancers, tuberculosis, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses; and

Whereas, Exposure to airborne environmental pollutants is especially detrimental to children, as their brains are still developing and because they take in more air and water per unit of their body size as compared to adults; and

Whereas, Childhood exposure to common airborne pollutants has been linked to reduced scores in intellectual development tests as well as increased incidences of psychiatric disorders, increased difficulties with emotional self-regulation, and a heightened risk for certain emotional or mental disorders; and

Whereas, In New York City, environmentally damaging infrastructure such as power plants and waste transfer stations tend to be situated in neighborhoods with high concentrations of self-identified minority individuals and high percentages of communities whose income is at or below the federal poverty guidelines; and

Whereas, These communities often suffer from significantly higher overall rates of asthma and hospitalization due to asthma than the citywide average, and have also been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic; and

Whereas, The addition of an amendment affirming New York City and New York State residents with access to clean air and water and a healthy environment would encourage legislators to more seriously consider environmental impacts and pollution concerns as part of the decision making process; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York supports the passage of the Green Amendment to the New York State Constitution.