Bringing a Healthy Environment to the Chesapeake Bay Region
Every person, in every generation, deserves the right to clean water, clean air and a healthy environment. Yet across Maryland, communities are threatened by an unhealthy environment. Federal and state laws, as well as efforts at their enforcement and compliance, are coming up short. Despite the progress we have made, Maryland still suffers from polluted air, unhealthy water and the increasing threats posed by climate change.
And this degradation affects us all, for the connections between public health and the environment are evident. Air pollution causes millions of premature deaths every year worldwide, 1.5 million more than smoking. Just as we have constitutional rights to free speech, voting, a free press, and religion, our fundamental rights to a healthy and healthful environment should be recognized by our government. Indeed this right is recognized by over a hundred nations and a handful of states in the U.S.
Waterkeepers Chesapeake is joining with communities, public health professionals, organizations, and businesses across Maryland with the goal of passing an Environmental Health & Justice Amendment in Maryland.
The Amendment would clarify the responsibility of state government to protect Marylanders, while empowering Marylanders, local communities and the state to enforce these rights. The Amendment’s enhanced protections would create a new legal safeguard against the release of pollutants like methane and carbon monoxide that accelerate climate change and pollutants like PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) that threaten drinking water. The Amendment would shore up gaps in existing laws, strengthen enforcement and compliance, and assure that everyone, no matter what zip code they live in, are equally protected from environmental degradation. In addition to bolstering existing protections for our environment, the Amendment could serve as a backstop for future smart environmental policies.
Every day our government – local, state, and federal – enables industries to pollute, deforest, denigrate, and despoil our environments. Yet our ability to push back against these injustices — and their negative impacts on our health — is hampered, for our fundamental rights to pure water, clean air, and healthy environments are not (yet!) recognized by Maryland’s government.
The Maryland Constitutional Amendment for Environmental Health & Justice (HB517) is up for
consideration on February 19th in the House Environment and Transportation Committee.
The committee needs to hear that this Amendment is important to you!
Please contact your state lawmaker today!
Will you help us pass an Environmental Health & Justice Amendment in Maryland? Sign up today!
Maryland’s Constitutional Amendment for Environmental Health & Justice is part of a
Movement to Pass Green Amendments in Every State Across the Nation
- The Green Amendment: Securing Our Right to a Healthy Environment by Maya K. Van Rossum
- Strike for the Healthy Green Maryland Constitutional Amendment (Kallan Benson, 14 year old)
- Download our flyer and help spread the word about the Healthy Green Amendment!