Amendment Uses

How could an Environmental Human Rights (EHR) Amendment be used in Maryland?

The Maryland Campaign for Environmental Human Rights worked with students from the University of Maryland to explore how an environmental human rights amendment could be used in Maryland. The conclusion of the analysis was based on researching how environmental rights amendments have been used in other states. A summary of the analysis is presented below. You can read the full paper here.

The EHR Amendment embodies the language and duties necessary to protect Marylander’s environmental rights, further protecting the environment as a whole. Maryland needs this amendment to ensure that public and environmental health remains a top priority for the state, regardless of changes in the political winds.  By making environmental preservation, protection, and enhancement, a state constitutional mandate, the EHRA can help ensure the protection of the environment now and in the future.

  1. State Autonomy: greater autonomy from outside economic interests, state environmental laws could have greater protection from federal oversight
  2. Renewable Energy: support for sustainable renewable energy development 
  3. Beltway Expansion: allow for state jurisdiction to take place of federal overreach, further making development account for environmental and climate impact
  4. Chesapeake Bay Health: greater strength in a lawsuit against EPA, enhanced protection of waterways and need to regard impact on the environment for sake of human health
  5. Groundwater: greater protection of aquifer and freshwater resources
  6. Air quality: procedural protection could give improved ability to request hearings or other public oversight processes 
  7. Waste: procedural protection could give improved ability to request hearings or other public oversight processes
  8. Wetland Conservation: procedural protection and broader language protect a broader array of environmental systems including local waterways, soil structure, and land stability
  9. Wildlife Protection: procedural protection could better connect the effect of species destruction to human life and environmental quality
  10. Green Spaces: legal support to promote healthful environments, including clean air, water, and land, a stable climate
  11. Agency Directives: procedural protection could encourage agencies to act in greater accordance with public health protection, agencies would have to act in accordance with their trustee duty 
  12. Fossil Fuel Infrastructure: route to require permit revision when health and environmental arguments are absent or when trustee duty is ignored, the opportunity to broaden the scope of some permits, procedural protection could give improved ability to request hearings or other public oversight processes