Generations Yet to Come
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Generations Yet to Come

September 11, 2019


♪>>>THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA WAS AMONG THE FIRST GOVERNMENTS IN THE WORLD TO SAY EVERYONE HAS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT.>>FOR A HUNDRED YEARS AFTER THE CIVIL WAR, THE STATE GOVERNMENT OF PENNSYLVANIA WAS PRETTY MUCH CONTROLLED BY THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY, THE STEEL INDUSTRY AND THE COAL INDUSTRY. THEY WERE A ACCOMPLICES TO THIS. ALL THIS EXPLOITATION.>>THE ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT WAS ADDED TO THE STATE CONSTITUTION IN 1971 AS ARTICLE ONE, SECTION 27.>>THE PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO CLEAN AIR, PURE WATER AND TO THE PRESERVATION OF THE NATURAL, SCENIC, HISTORIC AND AESTHETIC VALUES OF THE ENVIRONMENT. PENNSYLVANIA’S NATURAL RESOURCES ARE THE COMMON PROPERTY OF ALL THE PEOPLE, INCLUDING GENERATIONS YET TO COME. AS TRUSTEE OF THESE RECOURSES, THE COMMONWEALTH SHALL CONSERVE AND MAINTAIN THEM FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL THE PEOPLE.>>BUT, FOR DECADES, THE WORDS LAY LIFELESS ON THE PAGE.>>SO, I WAS HOPEFUL THAT THE COURTS WOULD DO SOMETHING WITH IT. BUT, UNFORTUNATELY, THE COURTS DID NOT READ THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.>>BUT THINGS ARE CHANGING, AS FRACKING TRANSFORMED PENNSYLVANIA’S RURAL LANDSCAPES, IT’S UNEXPECTEDLY LED TO A SHIFT IN THE LEGAL LANDSCAPE TOO. RECENT STATE SUPREME COURT CASES DEALING WITH GAS DRILLING ARE BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO THE AMENDMENT. PEOPLE WHO FELT POWERLESS AGAINST INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION MAY BE GAINING AN ALLY.>>AND SO, THIS ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT BECOMES A REALLY IMPORTANT BECOMES A REALLY IMPORTANT TOOL FOR PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN AND OUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN. FOR TAKING ON SOME OF THOSE BIGGER PICTURE ISSUES, LIKE CLIMATE CHANGE, THAT ARE SO EASILY IGNORED AND DISMISSED BY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TODAY.>>BUT, THE REVITALIZED AMENDMENT IS ON A COLLISION COURSE WITH BUSINESSES.>>I DON’T THINK THAT IT’S EITHER LOGICAL OR LEGALLY CORRECT TO ARGUE, THAT PRIOR TO 1971, PEOPLE DIDN’T HAVE A RIGHT TO CLEAN AIR OR PURE WATER. WHAT HAS GOTTEN LOST IN THESE DISCUSSION IS OUR PROPERTY RIGHTS.>>WHAT’S PLAYING OUT IN COURT ROOMS, BOARD ROOMS AND PUBLIC MEETINGS ACROSS PENNSYLVANIA COULD CHANGE THE WAY PEOPLE RELATE TO THE NATURAL WORLD.>>WE’VE GROWN, ALMOST, TO BEING IMMUNE FROM BELIEF THAT THERE IS FRAGILITY TO THIS EARTH. WE ARE NOT ATTACHED TO THE NATURAL RESOURCES EVEN THOUGH WE ARE SURROUNDED BY THAT AND WE’RE A PART OF THEM. AND THAT’S SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED ON LEVELS EVEN DEEPER THAN POLITICAL AND SOCIAL AND CULTURAL. CITIZENS REALLY NEED TO SPEAK UP AND REALLY ASK THE GOVERNMENT, áLOOK AT THE COMMON INTEREST.á AND CERTAINLY THERE’S NOTHING MORE DEMOCRATIZING THAN THE AIR. WE SHARE THE WATER. WE SHARE THE PUBLIC LANDS AND THE LOCAL PARKS THAT WE ALL DEPEND ON.>>MAJOR FUNDING FOR áGENERATIONS YET TO COME, ENVIRONMENT RIGHTS IN PENNSYLVANIAá, IS PROVIDED BY THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING AND BY VIEWERS LIKE YOU. THANK YOU.>>THE SHAMOKIN CREEK WAS STILL RUNNING BLACK. IN SUNBURY IN THOSE DAYS, A JOKE WAS, áIF YOU FALL INTO SHAMOKIN CREEK, DON’T WORRY ABOUT DROWNING. YOU’LL DISSOLVE BEFORE YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO DROWN.á>>KURY GREW UP IN PENNSYLVANIA’S ANTHRACITE COAL REGION. AS A CHILD, HE WITNESSED THE DESTRUCTION MINING LEFT BEHIND.>>WHEN I WAS A KID, MY PARENTS TOOK ME UP TO VISIT THEIR PARENTS, WHO LIVED ON WEST LLOYD STREET IN SHENANDOAH. SO, WE WENT UP THERE A LOT OF WEEKENDS. AND I WAS JUST A KID. I DIDN’T THINK MUCH OF LAW, BUT I DID NOTICE THAT THEIR HOUSE WAS ONLY A HUNDRED FROM A LARGE COAL BANK, A HUGE COAL BANK. AND IN FRONT OF THEM WAS STREAM THAT BLACK AS THE ACE OF SPADES. AND I NEVER QUITE GET OVER THAT.>>HE EARNED A LAW DEGREE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, AND ONE OF HIS FIRST JOBS WAS DOING TITLE SEARCHES. HE STILL REMEMBERS ONE DEED HE FOUND.>>RIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS DEED, áTHE COAL COMPANY RESERVES THE RIGHT FOR ITS SELF AND IT HEIRS FOR EVER TO DISCHARGE INTO THE WATERS OF ANY STREAMS THAT GO THROUGH THE LAND OR THEIR TRIBUTARIES, THE REFUSE, THE COAL, THE SLATE, THE COAL DIRT.á I WAS STUNNED THAT THE COAL COMPANIES COULD CLAIM THIS. WELL, I LEARNED THEN THAT THE COAL COMPANIES HAD A LOT OF POWER.>>WHEN HE WAS 29, A FRIEND ENCOURAGED HIM TO RUN FOR THE STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. IN A MAJOR UPSET, THE YOUNG DEMOCRAT BEAT A POWERFUL REPUBLICAN INCUMBENT, ADAM BOWER, WHO HAD BEEN IN OFFICE FOR NEARLY THREE DECADES. BOWER HAD VOTED AGAINST A NEW LAW THAT BROUGHT COAL COMPANIES UNDER THE STATE’S CLEAN STREAMS LAW.>>I RAN ON THE ISSUE OF CLEAN STREAMS. THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF MY CAMPAIGN. AND MY WIFE ELIZABETH HAD A BRILLIANT IDEA. SHE SAID, áWHY DON’T YOU GO DOWN TO SHAMOKEN CREEK, GET A BOTTLE OF WATER FROM THAT AND HOLD IT UP WITH ONE HAND AND A JAR OF WATER FROM THE SINK, WHICH IS CLEAN IN THE OTHER, AND USE THAT AS YOUR AD TO GIVE THE PEOPLE AND SAY, áTHIS IS YOUR CHOICE. YOU CAN HAVE CLEAN WATER OR DIRTY WATER. I’M FOR CLEAN WATER.á AND WHEN I GOT THERE, THEY PUT ME ON THE CONSERVATION COMMITTEE BECAUSE I HAD SCORED THE BIG UPSET OF THE ELECTION. ONE SATURDAY MORNING, I WAS AT HOME READING THE NEW YORK TIMES, AND I SAW A STORY THAT THE STATE LEGISLATURE OF NEW YORK HAD PROPOSED AN AMENDMENT TO THE NEW YORK STATE CONSTITUTION DEALING WITH FOREST LANDS. THAT’S WHEN IT HIT ME. ALL THE PESTS. THE COAL COMPANIES, SMOKE AND CREEK. WHAT WE WERE DOING. IT ALL HIT ME. WE NEED MORE THAN THESE BILLS. WE NEED A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. WHY SHOULDN’T WE HAVE ONE.>>WORKING WITH OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATES, KURY INTRODUCED IT IN 1969.>>THIS AMENDMENT, I SAY THREE THINGS. AND I’LL SAY THAT THE PEOPLE OF PENNSYLVANIA HAVE A RIGHT TO A DECENT ENVIRONMENT. AND THE PUBLIC NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE STATE BELONG TO ALL THE PEOPLE, INCLUDING GENERATIONS YET TO COME. AND THIRDLY, THE STATE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE THE TRUSTEE OF THESE RESOURCES FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.>>EVEN BACK AT THAT TIME, STATUTES WERE ONE THING. STATUTES WERE PASSED ALL THE TIME, BUT TO DO A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, THAT REQUIRED ADDITIONAL VIGOR AND ADDITIONAL THOUGHT. YOU DON’T JUST — MESS WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF PENNSYLVANIA WILLY NILLY. IT TAKES A GREAT DEAL OF THOUGHT. THAT’S WHY IT REQUIRES TWO SESSIONS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY. IT’S WHY IT REQUIRES A REFERENDUM.>>IT WENT THROUGH A NUMBER OF CHANGES BEFORE HEADING TO PUBLIC ON A BALLOT IN 1971.>>AND I WAS THRILLED BECAUSE IT PASSED 4-1. A MILLION PEOPLE VOTED FOR IT AND ONLY 250,000 VOTED AGAINST IT. THERE ARE FOUR OTHER AMENDMENTS ON THE BALLOT THAT DAY, INCLUDING WOMEN’S RIGHTS. AND WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, THEY ONLY GOT A 2-1 VOTE.>>ONCE YOU READ IT, YOU — ME BEING A CONSERVATIONIST, IT SAID, áTHAT’S SELF-EVIDENT.á THIS IS APPLE PIE, ICE CREAM AND MOTHERHOOD. WE ALL BELIEVE THIS. THE AMENDMENT’S FIRST TEST CAME A FEW YEARS LATER IN 1973. THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL CHALLENGED AN OBSERVATION TOWER BEING BUILT BY A DEVELOPER ON PRIVATE LAND NEXT TO THE GETTYSBURG NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD. THE ARGUMENT WAS THAT THE TOWER WOULD BE AN EYE SORE AND SPOIL THE VIEW FOR VISITORS IN VIOLATION OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT. BUT THE COURT SIDED WITH THE TOWER DEVELOPER.>>IT WAS A SUIT BY THE STATE AGAINST A PRIVATE PARTY WHERE THERE WAS NO STATE ACTION INVOLVED THAT ALLOWED THE PRIVATE PARTY TO DO WHAT IT WAS DOING. AND THE RIGHTS THAT WE HAVE IN THE CONSTITUTION, INCLUDING SECTION 27 RIGHTS, ARE RIGHTS WE HAVE AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. AND SO — SO, IF YOU SAY, áWELL, THE TOWER WAS A BAD THINGá, IN WHAT WAY DID THE GOVERNMENT APPROVE THE TOWER. HOW DID THE GOVERNMENT MAKE THE TOWER HAPPEN. AND THE ANSWER IS, THE GOVERNMENT DIDN’T DO ANYTHING.>>THAT SAME YEAR, IN A CASE KNOW AS PAYNE VERSES KASSAB, A GROUP OF CITIZENS SUED THE STATE OVER A STREET WIDENING PROJECT THAT CUT INTO A SMALL PUBLIC PARK IN WILKES-BARRE. THEY ARGUED IT VIOLATED THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS.>>NOW, THE COURTS LOOKED AT THAT AND SAID, áWELL, THIS ISN’T A VERY IMPORTANT CASE. THIS IS JUST LITTLE, BITTY THING. AND IT’S GOING FROM ONE PUBLIC USE TO ANOTHER PUBLIC USE.á AND COMMONWEALTH COURT GOT CONCERNED THAT IF THIS IS THE KIND OF THING SECTION 27 MEANT, THEN SECTION 27 HAD TO BE ANTI-DEVELOPMENT. THE EARLY CASES UNDER SECTION 27 WERE CASES THAT SCARED THE COURTS, FRANKLY.>>THE JUSTICES DEVELOPED A NEW WAY OF REVIEWING CLAIMS BROUGHT UNDER THE ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT. IT BECAME KNOWN AS THE PAYNE VERSES KASSAB TEST. DERNBACH SAYS IT LIMITED THE POWER OF THE AMENDMENT FOR DECADES TO COME.>>WHAT THEY WERE DOING EFFECTIVELY IS SIGNALING THAT THEY WERE GOING TO BE MOVING FROM THE TEXT, TO IT, A LEGAL TEST THAT THEY THEMSELVES WROTE. AND SO THEY SAID, FROM NOW ON, JUDICIAL REVIEW UNDER SECTION 27 IS GONNA BE A SUBJECT OF THIS THREE-PART BALANCING TEST THAT WE’RE WRITING. AND ALTHOUGH THEY DIDN’T SAY SO, IT REALLY DOESN’T HAVE MUCH, IF ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE TEXT OF THE CONSTITUTION ITSELF.>>IN THE 1990s, DERNBACH BEGAN RESEARCHING THE HISTORY OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT. HE WAS SURPRISED TO LEARN THE LEGISLATURE HAD REWORKED THE LANGUAGE SEVERAL TIMES BEFORE IT PASSED.>>AND SO, A VAST GAP BETWEEN THE TEXT OF THE CONSTITUTION AND WHAT WAS ORIGINALLY INTENDED BY FRANKLIN KURY IN PARTICULAR TO SORT OF SET OUT WHAT THIS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT WAS SUPPOSED TO MEAN. ON ONE HAND, AND ALL THE CASES THAT WERE BEING DECIDED UNDER THIS PAYNE VERSUS KASSAB BALANCING TEST ON THE OTHER. THE GAP WAS QUITE LARGE. IN OTHER WORDS, I SAW A WORLD THAT REALLY NO ONE ELSE HAD BEEN LOOKING AT.>>HIS RESEARCH WOULD LATER FUEL THE AMENDMENTS RESURGENCE. ♪ AROUND 2008 AND SEEMINGLY OVERNIGHT, FRACKING PUT PENNSYLVANIA IN THE GLOBAL SPOTLIGHT AS A MAJOR PRODUCER OF NATURAL GAS. THE SURGEON DRILLING BROUGHT NEW JOBS AND WEALTH. IT ALSO LED TO MORE POLLUTION AND DISRUPTION IN RURAL AREAS. THE LEGAL LANDSCAPE WAS ABOUT TO SHIFT. ♪ IN 2012, A GROUP OF CITIZENS, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, AND AN ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP SEWED OVER A NEW STATE LAW, KNOWN AS ACT 13, THAT ALLOWED OIL AND GAS COMPANIES TO DRILL VIRTUALLY ANYWHERE IN PENNSYLVANIA. EVEN IN PLACES ZONED AS RESIDENTIAL AREAS.>>HI, NAME’S BRIAN COPPOLA, AND I LIVE OUT HERE IN ROBINSON TOWNSHIP, WASHINGTON COUNTY. AND MY WIFE AND I HAVE LIVED OUT HERE FOR APPROXIMATELY 30 YEARS. IT’S BEEN PRETTY NICE. NICE COUNTRY LIVING, NICE NEIGHBORS. YOU KNOW, WE BOTH GREW UP AROUND THE CITY, SO WE WANTED TO RAISE OUR KIDS IN A NICE ATMOSPHERE.>>COPPOLA WAS ONE OF THE PLAINTIFFS IN THE CASE, WHICH BECAME KNOWN AS ROBINSON TOWNSHIP VERSUS COMMONWEALTH. AT THE TIME, HE WAS A SUPERVISOR FOR THE TOWNSHIP.>>AT THE TIME I WAS AWARE THAT SECTION 27 EXISTED IN OUR BILL OF RIGHTS, BUT I ALSO UNDERSTOOD THAT THE PRIMARY ENFORCEMENT MECHANISM FOR ALL THOSE RIGHTS WHEN IT PERTAINED TO LAND USE WAS ZONING. SO, OUR PRIMARY ARGUMENT BEGAN AS ZONING AND THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS THAT IT AFFORDED US.>>BACK THEN, PATRICK HENDERSON WAS A SENIOR ENERGY ADVISOR TO GOVERNOR TOM CORBETT. HE — CLOSELY WITH THE LEGISLATURE ON CRAFTING ACT 13. HE SAYS THE ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT WAS ON THEIR MIND AND THAT THE NEW LAW DID INCLUDE MANY REQUIREMENTS FOR DRILLERS LIKE SETBACKS FROM WATERWAYS, BUT HE SAYS THE ZONING CHANGES WERE AN EFFORT TO CREATE UNIFORMITY FOR THE DRILLING INDUSTRY.>>I THINK RECOGNIZING WE ARE A COMMONWEALTH OF 67 COUNTIES AND 2,500 MUNICIPALITIES. AND THAT, YOU KNOW, OTHER INDUSTRIES WHO HAD BEEN IN PENNSYLVANIA RECOGNIZED THAT GOING FROM ONE MUNICIPALITY TO ANOTHER AND HAVING AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SET OF RULES IS CUMBERSOME. WHAT WE SAW IS SOME EXAMPLES, NOT A LOT, BUT WE SAW SOME EXAMPLES WHERE FOLKS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL, OR A PATCHWORK OF THEM, SIMPLY DID NOT WANT THIS ACTIVITY. AND THAT HAS BROUGHT IMPLICATIONS INCLUDING FOR CITIZENS WHO LIVE IN THAT MUNICIPALITY THAT WANT TO DEVELOP THEIR RIGHTS. AND SO, WE SAW EXAMPLES WHERE THEY WOULD REDEFINE WHAT RESIDENTIAL IS.>>IN THE ACT 13 CASE, THE CITIZENS WON. THE SUPREME COURT STRUCK DOWN SEVERAL PORTIONS OF THE LAW INCLUDING THE CONTROVERSIAL ZONING SECTION.>>NO MATTER WHAT THAT OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY SAYS, THERE’S GONNA BE PROBLEMS WITH IT IF IT’S NOT REGULATED. AND THAT BILL, THAT ACT 13 BILL, WAS A TOTAL CAPITULATION TO THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY.>>CASTILE HINGED THE DECISION ON ARTICLE 1, SECTION 27 OF PENNSYLVANIA’S CONSTITUTION.>>NO ONE REALLY LOOKED AT IT, ANALYZED WHAT IT MEANT, AND WHAT IT WAS TRYING TO PUSH AS A CONSTITUTIONAL LAW IN THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA.>>IT WAS THE FIRST TIME A COURT HAD USED THE ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT TO NULLIFY A STATE LAW.>>AND I BELIEVE THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY PROBABLY WROTE THE BILL AND THEN GAVE IT TO THE LEGISLATURE. A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE IT BECAUSE ZONING IS A FACT OF LIFE. YOU KNOW, IF YOU WANNA BUILD A GARAGE IN YOUR BACKYARD IN A RESIDENTIAL AREA, YOU HAVE TO GO GET ZONING. WHAT THIS DID IS IT OVERTURNED ALL OF THAT — THE ZONING LAWS, BUT IF YOU WANTED ONE OF THESE GAS WELLS, IT ALLOWED THEM TO BE PLACED ALMOST ANYWHERE, IN ESSENCE. NOT WITHSTANDING WHAT THE ZONING WAS, HOW LONG THE ZONING HAD BEEN THERE, SO ALL OF A SUDDEN, I ALWAYS SAY YOU COULD PUT ONE OF THESE THINGS IN A CHURCH PARKING LOT.>>THE COURT’S REASONING WAS UNEXPECTED TO EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THE CASE. AND IT EVEN CAME AS A SURPRISE TO FRANKLIN KURY, WHO STILL REMEMBERS COMING HOME THAT DECEMBER AFTERNOON AND HEARING THE PHONE RING.>>HERE, I WALK IN THE DOOR. I GOT A PHONE CALL FROM JOHN DERNBACH AND HE SAID, áFRANKLIN, HAVE YOU SEEN THE AMEND — THE DECISION?á I SAY, áYEAH, AND WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?á I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT. HE SAID, áWELL, I’LL SEND IT TO YOU. YOU’LL BE SURPRISED.á>>KURY AND HIS WIFE, ELIZABETH, SPENT THE EVENING POURING OVER IT.>>WE COULDN’T BELIEVE IT. HOW REVOLUTIONARY IT WAS THAT CASTILE SAID, áYOU GOT TO READ THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.á AND HOW MUCH THEY QUOTED FROM MY BOOK AND MY FLOOR SPEECHES. IT WAS MOST STUNNING — ONE OF THE MOST STUNNING NIGHTS OF MY LIFE TO READ THAT OPINION. BRIAN COPPOLA HAD WON, OR AT LEAST HE DID ON PAPER. YEARS LATER, IT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE A WIN.>>WHAT I THOUGHT WOULD HAPPEN WAS THAT MUNICIPALITIES THROUGHOUT THE STATE WOULD LOOK AT THE COURT’S DECISION AND ALTER THERE ZONING ORDINANCES TO COMPLY WITH IT. ALMOST NO MUNICIPALITIES HAVE ALTERED THEIR ZONING ORDINANCES TO COMPLY WITH IT.>>FROM HIS HOUSE, HE NOW SEES TWO NEW NATURAL GAS PROCESSING PLANTS RISING FROM THE NEARBY HILLTOPS.>>I THINK WE DID THE RIGHT THING. WE BROUGHT THE ISSUE FORWARD AND THE COURT DID THE RIGHT THING, BUT FOR SOME REASON IN PENNSYLVANIA, WE TEND TO IGNORE THE COURT SOMETIMES. WE TEND TO IGNORE THE LAW AND THE CONSTITUTION AT TIMES.>>HE AND HIS WIFE ARE SEWING THE NEIGHBORING TOWNSHIP FOR APPROVING THE CONSTRUCTION.>>THE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE STILL IGNORING THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THEIR CITIZENS. AND WHAT WE HAVE NEAR US NOW ARE INDUSTRIAL PLANTS BEING BUILT IN RESIDENTIAL ZONING DISTRICTS. AND IT’S GOTTEN TO THE POINT WHERE A LOT OF THESE AREAS ARE BECOMING UNLIVABLE FOR PEOPLE. CONSTANT TRUCK TRAFFIC, THERE ARE DAYS THAT YOU CAN’T SIT OUTSIDE. AND SOME DAYS WHEN YOU TRY TO GO INSIDE TO GET AWAY FROM THE NOISE, YOU SIT IN YOUR HOME AND THE HOUSE IS VIBRATING. IT’S HARD TO EXPLAIN TO SOMEBODY WHO HASN’T LIVED THROUGH IT, BUT ONCE YOU’VE BEEN WOKEN UP AT 3:00 IN THE MORNING FOR MONTHS ON END, IT WEARS YOU DOWN.>>STILL, THE ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT HAD GAINED LIFE. AND IN 2017, THE STATE’S SUPREME COURT GAVE IT ANOTHER BOOST. THE COURT RULED IN FAVOR OF THE PENNSYLVANIA ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FOUNDATION. THE GROUP USED HE AMENDMENT TO CHALLENGE THE WAY THE STATE HANDLES ROYALTY MONEY FROM OIL AND GAS DRILLING ON PUBLIC FOREST LAND.>>IT’S AN INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT IN OUR STATE FORESTS. A DECADE’S OLD LAW REQUIRED THE MONEY TO GO INTO A SPECIAL ACCOUNT CALLED áTHE OIL AND GAS LEASE FUND.á BUT THE STATE REDIRECTED THE MONEY TOWARD THE DAY-TO-DAY OPERATING EXPENSES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES.>>THE OIL AND GAS LEASE FUND WAS CREATED IN 1955 BY THE OIL AND GAS LEASE FUND ACT. THE OIL AND GAS LEASE FUND ACT IS A SIMPLE ONE-PAGE,>>AND YET, DESPITE THE AMENDMENT’S CLEAR WINNING COURT, THE RESULTS HAVE FALLEN SHORT. THE GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATURE HAVE CONTINUED TO FUNNEL THE MONEY TO RUN THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES. ATTORNEY JOHN CHILD SAYS THE POLITICAL WINDS IN THIS COUNTRY HAVE BEEN SHIFTING AWAY FROM ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.>>I DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND ALL OF WHAT’S GOING ON TODAY.>>HE’S CONTINUING TO FIGHT FOR A BROAD INTERPRETATION OF THE AMENDMENT. HE WANTS TO SPARK A CULTURAL SHIFT. THE KIND FRANKLIN KURY ENVISIONED MORE THAN 40 YEARS AGO.>>IS THERE POLITICAL, SOCIAL, AND CULTURAL ACCEPTANCE OF THE MEANING OF THE AMENDMENT? NOT MUCH AT ALL. VERY FEW PEOPLE SEE IT AT THAT LEVEL. WE HAVEN’T TURNED THE CORNER, BUT IT’S SUCH A MAJOR CORNER TO TURN. IT’S GONNA TAKE TIME.>>BUT THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT WORRIES MANY BUSINESSES. THE AMENDMENT COULD BE PUSHED TOO FAR AND THE NEW INTERPRETATIONS COULD BE RUNNING A FOUL OF WELL ESTABLISHED PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS.>>WHAT TROUBLES ME AND WHAT I THINK SHOULD TROUBLE THE LEGAL COMMUNITY IS THIS DESIRE TO PUSH THE ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT IN A DIRECTION THAT IS GOING TO CREATE A CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE. IT SHOULDN’T BE INTERPRETED AS A MECHANISM TO BYPASS THE LEGISLATURE AND THE ELECTORAL PROCESS BY WHICH WE PUT OUR LEGISLATURES IN OFFICE. IF WE ARE DISSATISFIED WITH THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS — IF WE THINK THEY’RE OWNED BY A SPECIAL INTEREST, THEN VOTE THEM OUT. DON’ TAKE A CONSTITUTIONAL PREVISION AND INTERPRET IT IN A WAY THAT MAY CAUSE THAT TO BE RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL UNDER THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION. WE DON’T NEED TO DO THAT.>>I THINK THE LESSONS HAVE BEEN LEARNED FROM OUR EARLY HISTORY OF EXTRACTION IN PENNSYLVANIA. WE’VE GOT THE PICTURES TO PROVE IT, WE’VE GOT THE SCARS TO STILL>>DECADES AFTER KURY’S AMENDMENT WAS ADOPTED, SHAMOKIN CREEK IS NO LONGER RUNNING BLACK. BUT IT’S ORANGE FROM ACID MINE DRAINAGE.>>PENNSYLVANIA HAS A NOTABLE HISTORY OF WHAT APPEARS RETROSPECTIVELY TO HAVE BEEN A SHORT SIGHTED EXPLOITATION OF ITS BOUNTIEST ENVIRONMENT. EFFECTING ITS MINERALS, ITS WATER, ITS FLORA, ITS FAUNA AND ITS PEOPLE. THE LESSONS LEARNED FROM HISTORY LED DIRECTLY TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT. A MEASURE WHICH RECEIVED OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FROM THE LEGISLATORS AND THE VOTERS ALIKE. AND THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED. IT JUST TOOK US LIKE 40 YEARS TO INTERPRET IT.>>THE RECENT COURT DECISIONS HAVE SPARKED FRESH INTEREST AMONGST SOME ADVOCATED AND THE CONCEPT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSTITUTIONALISM. THE IDEA THAT GETTING SIMILAR PROVISIONS AMENDED INTO OTHER STATE CONSTITUTIONS OR THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION COULD BE THE KEY TO RESHAPING NOT ONLY POLICY BUT PUBLIC OPINION ABOUT HOW HUMANS RELATE TO THE NATURAL WORLD.>>I’M TELLING PEOPLE THE STORY OF WHAT WE’VE ACCOMPLISHED IN PENNSYLVANIA. I’M TALKING WITH PEOPLE ABOUT HOW OUR CURRENT SYSTEM OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION LAWS ARE FAILING US. HELPING THEM UNDERSTAND THAT OUR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION LAWS ARE ABOUT MANAGING POLLUTION. THE WHO, THE WHEN, THE WHERE. AS OPPOSED TO PREVENTING POLLUTION AND PREVENTING DEGRADATION. AND GETTING THEM TO THE RECOGNITION THAT A HIGHER POWER AND A HIGHER LEVEL OF PROTECTION IS NEEDED. AND THAT BEST COMES IN THE FORM OF A GREEN AMENDMENT.>>ALTHOUGH MANY STATE CONSTITUTIONS MENTION A QUALITY ENVIRONMENT, FEN ROSSUM WOULD LIKE TO SEE THEM GUARANTEE CITIZENS A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT DIRECTLY IN THEIR BILLS OF RIGHTS. THAT’S HER VISION OF A GREEN AMENDMENT. LIKE WHAT PENNSYLVANIA HAS.>>IT’S GOING TO TAKE TIME. AND IT’S GOING TO TAKE WORK. BUT WE’RE PUTTING IN THAT WORK AND IT IS MAKING CHANGE. AND I BELIEVE IN THE YEARS TO COME, RIGHT, THAT THE ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT REALLY IS GOING TO HAVE A VERY MEANINGFUL IMPACT ON THE QUALITY OF PENNSYLVANIA’S ENVIRONMENT. AND I THINK ALSO, IN OTHER STATES, RIGHT? WE’RE GOING TO START TO SEE THAT CHANGE. WE ACTUALLY HAVE GREEN AMENDMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN PROPOSED BY LEGISLATORS IN NEW YORK, IN NEW JERSEY AND IN MARYLAND.>>SINCE THE 1970s, ROUGHLY THREE QUARTERS OF THE WORLDS COUNTRIES HAVE ADDRESSED ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS OR RESPONSIBILITIES IN THEIR NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONS. THE UNITED STATES IS AMONG THE MINORITY OF COUNTRIES THAT DOESN’T MENTION IT.>>WHAT THE ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT DOES AND SAYS IS THAT THE RIGHT TO PURE WATER, CLEAN AIR AND A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT IS AN INALIENABLE RIGHT THAT BELONGS TO ALL PEOPLE IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA. THAT MUST BE LEGALLY RECOGNIZED AND PROTECTED IN THE SAME WAY WE LEGALLY RECOGNIZE AND PROTECT ALL THOSE OTHER FREEDOMS IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS SECTION. LIKE THE RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH. LIKE THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION.>>I THINK THE BACKDROP OF THESE CASES CERTAINLY CREATE A PUBLIC INTEREST AND A POLITICAL SUPPORT FRANKLY FOR LOOKING AT PUBLIC FORCE FOR THE CONSERVATION. I THINK PEOPLE NEED TO EMBRACE IT EVEN MORE THAN THEY DO. I THINK PEOPLE KNOW GENERALLY IS THERE TO PROTECT THEM BUT I DON’T THINK THEY FULLY UNDERSTAND THE VALUE OF THIS AMENDMENT TO EVERYDAY LIVES. PEOPLE IN PENNSYLVANIA, I THINK FOR TOO LONG ACCEPT ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION AS THE NORM. I THINK THIS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT REALLY EMPOWERS PENNSYLVANIANS TO LOOK AT A SITUATION AND THINK áWAIT A MINUTE.á YOU KNOW, áIF MY AIR ISN’T CLEAN AND MY WATER ISN’T CLEAN, WHAT’S GOING ON?á AND áI ACTUALLY HAVE A RIGHT.á>>AS A STUDENT OF HISTORY, FRANKLIN KURY SAID HE KNEW THEN THAT POLITICAL TIDES RISE AND FALL. WHEN PENNSYLVANIA’S ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT PAST, HE BELIEVED THE 1970s WAVE OF ENVIRONMENTALISM WAS CRESTING.>>IN THOSE DAYS, THE PEOPLE OF PENNSYLVANIA REALLY WERE UPSET. WE WERE GOING THROUGH AN ENVIRONMENTAL REVOLUTION. THE CONSTITUTION IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO SUPPORT IT. BUT I THINK MORE AND MORE PEOPLE REALLY BELIEVE IT AND THEY’RE STANDING UP FOR IT. I’M VERY OPTIMISTIC THAT THE LONG RANGE EFFECTS ARE GOING TO BE BENEFICIAL.>>THE CHALLENGE YOU HAVE POLITICALLY RIGHT NOW IS A LOT OF PEOPLE ASSOCIATE THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION WITH ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION. AND THE CHALLENGE YOU HAVE HERE IS THAT WE ALL DEPEND ON A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. WE ALL DEPEND ON A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT. WITHOUT CLEAN AIR, WITHOUT PURE WATER, WITHOUT SOIL THAT DOES WHAT SOIL IS SUPPOSED TO DO, WITHOUT PLANTS THAT DO WHAT PLANTS ARE SUPPOSED TO DO. WITHOUT ALL THE FISH AND WILD LIFE THAT WE HAVE AND ALL THE REST OF IT, WE’RE IN A BAD PLACE. AND I THINK, I HOPE WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN OVER TIME IS THAT PEOPLE WILL INCREASINGLY RECOGNIZE THAT.>>A LOT OF PEOPLE FELT THAT THIS DIDN’T BELONG IN THE CONSTITUTION. BUT OF COURSE, IT DID. BECAUSE WE INTRODUCED IT AS A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. IT WENT THROUGH THE PROCESS. IT WASN’T JUST A FEEL GOOD THING. IN FACT, I THINK IT’S THE BEST THING I EVER DID IN THE LEGISLATURE. AND IT ALL HAPPENED WHILE I — IT STARTED WHEN I WAS A FRESHMEN HOUSE MEMBER. SO MY ADVICE TO THE LEGISLATURE IS BE CAREFUL HOW YOU TREAT FRESHMAN HOUSE MEMBERS. THEY HAVE MAY HAVE A PRETTY GOOD IDEA.>>MAJOR FUNDING FOR GENERATIONS YET TO COME. ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS IN PENNSYLVANIA IS PROVIDED THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING. ANY BY VIEWERS LIKE YOU. THANK YOU. ♪ ♪ ♪

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