PennFuture's Environmental Rights Amendment Forum

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PennFuture’s “Environmental Rights Amendment” Forum

Seating is limited. Register here.

When: September 14, 2017, 5:30-8:30pm

Where: WHYY Studios

Independence Mall West
150 N. 6th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Please join PennFuture for a special evening dedicated to understanding the Pennsylvania Constitution’s “Environmental Rights Amendment,” which states: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”

PennFuture’s Forum 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.” You’ll hear from legal experts, legislators, and current and former state officials, who will share their perspectives on this often-misunderstood provision. In addition to reflecting on the historical context in which the Amendment emerged, Forum panelists will explain relevant case law, discuss needed enforcement, and consider the future implications of the Amendment for Pennsylvania’s citizens and environment.


Food & Drinks (5:30-6:00pm)

I: Introduction (6:00pm)

  • Welcome: Jacqui Bonomo, Executive Vice-President and COO, PennFuture

II: History of the Amendment

  • How and why the amendment was enacted: Franklin Kury, former state legislator who wrote Article I, Section 27 in 1969
  • The amendment since enactment: John Dernbach, Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability, Widener University

III: Legal: Interpretations and Opportunities

  • Moderator: George Jugovic, Vice-President of Legal Affairs, PennFuture
  • Joanne Kilgour, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Sierra Club
  • Meg Murphy, Assistant Director, DEP Bureau of Regulatory Counsel
  • Steve Santarsiero, PA Chief Deputy Attorney General for Environmental Protection
  • Jordan Yeager, Partner, Curtin & Heefner LLP.

IV: Legislative: The Amendment as a Tool to Protect Communities

  • Moderator: Rob Altenburg, Energy Center Director, PennFuture
  • Rep. Kate Harper (R-61, Montgomery county)
  • Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky (D-161, Delaware county)
  • Rep. Greg Vitali (D-166, Delaware and Montgomery counties)

V: Where Do We Go From Here?

  • Larry Schweiger, President  and CEO, PennFuture
  • John Quigley, Former PA DEP Secretary and Former PA DCNR Secretary
  • John Childe, Counsel, Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation

VII: Conclusion

  • Thank you:  Larry Schweiger, President and CEO, PennFuture

Seating is limited. Register here.

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