Environmental Rights Amendment Forum to Convene State Leaders

PHILADELPHIA, PA (August 29, 2017)—PennFuture is hosting the Environmental Rights Amendment Forum, an event that will convene citizens, legal experts, legislators, and current and former state officials to discuss this state constitutional provision and its impact on current issues and policies on Thursday, Sept. 14.
With the recent landmark State Supreme Court decision that ruled using royalties from the development of oil and gas beneath public lands had to be used for purposes consistent with the Environmental Rights Amendment, this conversation comes at a critical juncture in which the state budget threatens to hand regulatory power to the natural gas industry itself.
PennFuture’s Environmental Rights Amendment Forum is a free event that will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 at WHYY Studios, Independence Mall West, 150 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106. Click here for the detailed agenda. The event will focus on the history, meaning and impact of Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, commonly referred to as the Environmental Rights Amendment. Those interested in attending the event can register by clicking here.
Expert panelists who will share their perspectives on this often misunderstood provision include:
  • Franklin Kury, former state legislator who wrote the Environmental Rights Amendment in 1969 
  • Rep. Kate Harper (R-61, Montgomery county)
  • Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky (D-161, Delaware county)
  • Rep. Greg Vitali (D-166, Delaware and Montgomery counties)
  • John Childe, Counsel, Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation, who successfully argued the recent State Supreme Court victory
  • Steve Santarsiero, PA Chief Deputy Attorney General for Environmental Protection
  • Meg Murphy, Assistant Director, PA Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Regulatory Counsel
  • John Dernbach, Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability, Widener University
  • Joanne Kilgour, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Sierra Club
  • Jordan Yeager, Partner, Curtin & Heefner LLP
  • John Quigley, Former PA DEP Secretary and Former PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary
“In the face of global climate change and the current situation in Harrisburg, in which polluter power reigns now more than ever, we must fully understand the potential impact the Environmental Rights Amendment can have on our work to ensure we are protecting the air our families breathe, the water our children drink, and the land we all call home in the Commonwealth,” said Larry Schweiger, PennFuture President and CEO, who also will be featured in the forum.
“After 40 years, recent decisions by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court under the Environmental Rights Amendment have ushered in a new era of environmental consciousness in Pennsylvania. PennFuture will convene some of the most influential thinkers in the state to consider the current state of the law and where it may lead. These conversations will be critical in our collective understanding of current law, and how the law can inform our work moving forward,” said George Jugovic, Jr., Vice President of Legal Affairs at PennFuture, and featured panelist at the forum.
In addition to reflecting on the historical context in which the amendment emerged, panelists will explain relevant case law, discuss needed enforcement, and consider the future implications of the amendment for Pennsylvania’s citizens and environment, including the context for using the amendment to drive climate action and defend Pennsylvanians’ public health. 
PennFuture is leading the transition to a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania and beyond. We are protecting our air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations. For more information, visit www.pennfuture.org.
Contact: Stephanie Rex             
Director of Communications