Earth Day 2021: Celebrating Our Constitutional Right To A Clean Environment In Pennsylvania
By Patrick McDonnell, DEP Secretary
Earth Day this year feels different. The signs of spring are all around us, and more and more Pennsylvanians are getting their vaccines against COVID-19 (but don’t toss out those masks yet! And definitely don’t toss them on the ground!).
This year as we celebrate Earth Day we can also celebrate something uniquely Pennsylvanian – Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania constitution, also known as the Environmental Rights Amendment.
It reads: "The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."
This landmark part of Pennsylvania’s constitution is the foundation that all of our environmental laws and regulations are built on.
And it is the basis of DEP’s mission to protect Pennsylvania's air, land and water from pollution and to provide for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment.
This mission is what guides us to tackle climate change through a variety of programs, from our efforts to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and put a cap on carbon pollution to our support of county and municipal governments finding the best ways for their organizations to fight climate change with our Local Climate Action Program.
And we are continuing to take steps to make our air, land, and water cleaner – reducing emissions, cleaning up legacy pollution, and restoring streams and rivers.
It’s something that I have taken to heart, and I hope you will as well.
A few weeks ago I joined colleagues from DEP and PennDOT to take part in a litter cleanup near Harrisburg.
It was nice to get out and see friends and colleagues that have been little more than boxes on a Zoom call for over a year, and got to make Pennsylvania a little more beautiful.
There are litter pickup events happening all across Pennsylvania – find an event near you, or find out how you can help host a litter pickup event.
Happy Earth Day!
-- DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell
Also from DEP’s Special Earth Day News & Views--
For more information on environmental programs in Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s website, Click Here to sign up for DEP’s newsletter, sign up for DEP Connects events, sign up for DEP’s eNotice, visit DEP’s Blog, Like DEP on Facebook, Follow DEP on Twitter and visit DEP’s YouTube Channel.
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[Posted: April 20, 2021]
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