The Constitutional Right to Save the Environment

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Environmental Law Reporter, Vol. 52, No. 1, 2022

12 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2022

Sen. Franklin L. Kury

Former Member of the Pennsylvania State Senate and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives

John C. Dernbach

Widener University – Commonwealth Law School

Julia Olson

Executive Director and Chief Legal Counsel of Our Children’s Trust

Barry E. Hill

Environmental Law Institute; Vermont Law School

Date Written: January 5, 2022


More than 50 years ago, Franklin Kury drafted and championed an Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution. His book, The Constitutional Question to Save the Planet: The Right to a Healthy Environment (ELI Press 2021), expands upon the story of his amendment to demonstrate how its principles can be the basis for addressing climate change in the rest of the world. On October 13, 2021, the Environmental Law Institute hosted Kury and leading experts (Franklin Kury, John Dernbach, Julia Olson, and Barry Hill) to explore the impact environmental rights amendments can have on stabilizing the climate system through legal channels at the state and federal levels. This is an edited transcript of that discussion.

Keywords: Article I, Section 27; Environmental Rights Amendment; Pennsylvania Constitution; environmental law; environmental rights; state constitutional law; public trust doctrine; constitutional environmental law; sustainable development; environmental rights; climate change; human rights

JEL Classification: K00, K19, K32

Suggested Citation:Kury, Sen. Franklin L. and Dernbach, John C. and Olson, Julia and Hill, Barry E., The Constitutional Right to Save the Environment (January 5, 2022). Environmental Law Reporter, Vol. 52, No. 1, 2022, Available at SSRN: This Paper

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