10YO Leads Campaign for Constitutional Right to Clean Air

For Immediate Release: January 23, 2017

10YO Leads Campaign for Constitutional Right to Clean Air

 Second Round of Videos Feature South Albany Residents Suffering from Oil Train, Diesel Truck Emissions

This is the basketball court, this is the playground, that’s where I live, and there’s the train tracks.” – 10-year-old Lawrence, pointing out places all just a few feet away from where he was standing.

Albany – Three weeks ago, Hoosick Falls kids helped launch the campaign to ensure a Constitutional right to healthy air, clean water, and a safe climate for all New Yorkers. Their videos have been shared hundreds of times on social media, and seen by tens of thousands of people. The campaign continues today with two South Albany residents —10-year-old Lawrence, and Willie White, a respected community leader and Executive Director of A Village…, Inc. — releasing videos calling on Governor Cuomo and state legislators to pass an Environmental Bill of Rights to protect the air they breathe from toxic oil trains and diesel truck emissions.

These videos are released as President-elect Donald Trump assumes power and prepares an agenda that is potentially disastrous for New Yorkers’ protections and health. Among Mr. Trump’s many threats include rolling back the Clean Air Act, reinforcing the need for New York to step up its own protection of our communities.

Speaking about the health ailments that affect residents in South Albany, White notes, “We’ve identified a lot of different issues: asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, thyroid issues, and on and on and on. This is living proof that New York needs a Constitutional amendment for clean air, for a clean environment, for all New Yorkers.”

Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York, said, “These folks are heroes. It takes remarkable strength to live in fear for your own health, based simply on the water you drink and the air you breathe, and still take a stand to protect all of us. We need to see that kind of strength in our political leaders. I’ve spoken to people all across this state who are consistently surprised they lack the legal right to clean water and healthy air. We’ve seen time and again in other states and countries that a Constitutional right is often the only legal avenue people have against decisions that harm their health.”

Bill Samuels, founder of EffectiveNY, said, “The fact that less than a mile and a half away from the Governor’s Mansion in Albany, 200 of New York’s children can be allowed to live in the toxic conditions so vividly illustrated in these videos is unconscionable. Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature must take immediate action to pass a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to fresh air and clean drinking water so the residents of Ezra Prentice Homes and all New Yorkers can finally get the environmental justice they deserve.”

View the Adsi

Link to “Lawrence”, a 30-second ad: https://youtu.be/KFeMyx_gmV4

Link to “Bomb Trains”, a 60-second ad: https://youtu.be/6RAVaVcTK1M

Both spots direct viewers to text ‘OurAir’ to 52886 or go to NYCleanAir.org to sign a petition in support of the effort to amend the Constitution to include a new Environmental Bill of Rights.

About the Amendment

Environmental Advocates of New York, EffectiveNY, and New Yorkers are campaigning for an amendment to Article I of the New York State Constitution, the Bill of Rights, to include an Environmental Bill of Rights. A Constitutional right would give New Yorkers the long overdue empowerment of ensuring their voice is heard, and necessary tools to use the legal system to fight actions that undermine public health.

In August, 2016, the New York State Bar Association issued a report which noted that “Several other states, such as Pennsylvania, and 174 nations, have adopted and implemented constitutional ‘environmental rights,’” adding that Article 14 of the state Constitution, the Forever Wild clause, does not include such protections.

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