Lawmaker pushes for a Green Amendment in Delaware
State Rep. Madinah Wilson-Anton wants to take a new approach to addressing climate issues, proposing a Green Amendment to create a lasting right to clean air and water, and a tool to fight polluters in court.
Delaware Public Media’s Roman Battaglia talks with Wilson-Anton about her proposal.
Only two states have what’s called a Green Amendment in their constitution, designed to ensure all their citizens have a right to live in a place free from pollutants.
Neighboring Pennsylvania is one, passing that amendment back in the 70’s. And now State Rep. Madinah Wilson-Anton is looking to bring a version to Delaware.
“And I mean the timing of it is key," she says. "We’re dealing with a climate crisis, issues of the environment are getting increasingly important and so I think it’s really important that we have this added to our constitution.”
She says she’s worked closely with state and regional environmental leaders to craft an amendment that ensures the state makes environmentally conscious decisions, and gives citizens tools to fight back against corporations that pollute.
Wilson-Anton says the state has dropped the ball at times when it comes to protecting Delawareans from pollutants.
“It’s gone on for too long, and we also need to think about the future — how are we making sure that these kinds of problems don’t impact other communities moving forward," Wilson-Anton says.
Being a constitutional amendment, it will have to pass through the state legislature two times to be enshrined in law. That means the earliest this bill could fully pass is 2023.
Wilson-Anton says that's why starting now is important,to be able to get it done with urgency.
She’s hoping for bipartisan agreement when the bill comes up, arguing these issues affect all Delawareans.
Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.