Green constitutional amendment still ‘undefined’

By Published On: July 18th, 2022Categories: Capitol Notes

Last fall, voters approved adding language to the state constitution guaranteeing every New Yorker a right to clean air, clean water and a healthful environment.

More than six months into the life of the amendment, which took effect in January, and it’s still not clear what the language means for government regulators.

Speaking on The Capitol Pressroom, state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said the amendment is still “very undefined,” when asked how it was used, if at all, to inform a decision about air permits for a fossil fuel plant in the Finger Lakes.

“We didn’t need to rely upon it to make a determination,” he said.

“I’m sure the courts will interpret [the amendment], ultimately,” Seggos said, noting some cases had already been filed. “It will take some time. That ultimately will then help us understand the metes and bounds of that amendment.”