StateImpact Pennsylvania, WITF and the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation invite you to a free virtual documentary screening and panel discussion on the 50th Anniversary of the state’s Environmental Rights Amendment. The event is May 18 at 7 p.m.
Added to the Pennsylvania constitution in 1971, the amendment protects the right to clean air, pure water, and enjoyment and preservation of our natural environment for generations to come.
Watch clips tracing the history and impact of the amendment from the WITF original documentary Straight Talk: The Ralph Abele Story and the StateImpact Pennsylvania original documentary Generations Yet to Come: Environmental Rights in Pennsylvania.
After the screening, StateImpact Pennsylvania reporter Rachel McDevitt will lead a panel discussion about the lasting legacy of this groundbreaking legislation and its relevancy today.
- Former state Sen. Franklin Kury, who was instrumental in getting the amendment passed
- Cindy Dunn, secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
- Rafiyqa Muhammad, Harrisburg Environmental Advisory Council, Pennsylvania DEP Environmental Justice Advisory Board
About Straight Talk: The Ralph Abele Story
Ralph W. Abele’s “Resource First” philosophy helped protect and conserve the Commonwealth’s waterways and aquatic life. He worked with then-state Sen. Franklin Kury and Department of Forests and Waters Secretary Maurice Goddard to help get Article 1, Section 27 passed by both the House and Senate. It was later approved as a voter referendum.
About Generations Yet to Come: Environmental Rights in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is one of only a few states to recognize environmental quality as a basic civil right—much like the U.S. Constitution protects the right to free speech and freedom of religion. Article 1, Section 27 was amended to the state constitution in 1971. For decades, it was largely ignored. But as fracking transformed Pennsylvania’s rural landscapes, the amendment has gained new life.