Hoosick Falls Kids Call for Constitutional Right to Clean Water

originally posted on December 30, 2016


Environmental Advocates of New York and EffectiveNY Team Up in Push for Constitutional Amendment

“At home we drink bottled water, we basically do all the stuff with bottled water” says 10-year-old Hoosick Falls resident, Ashlynn Sagendorf, more than a year after residents first learned they had been drinking water contaminated with Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

Environmental Advocates of New York and EffectiveNY released two online ads today featuring children affected by the water contamination crisis in Hoosick Falls that make the case for a state Constitutional amendment which would grant New Yorkers the long overdue right to healthy drinking water, clean air, and a safe climate.

In a 30-second testimonial named “Mikayla,” 14-year-old Hoosick Falls resident Mikayla Baker says, “I think one of the highest priorities of New York State should be to have a healthy environment. It’s ridiculous that we should even have to ask for the right of clean water and clean air.”

Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York said, “If the role of government is not to ensure the basics—that kids have water to drink and air to breathe that doesn’t make them sick—then the priorities are backwards. Kids like Mikayla and Ashlynn were drinking contaminated water most of their lives, and no one told their families. Since then, government has often covered for the polluters. It has become clear that for New York to be a true leader, we are going to need a Constitutional amendment to ensure the state proactively protects our air, water, and climate, and responds with full force when a crisis occurs.”

“Nobody makes a more eloquent case for the obvious need for New Yorkers to have a constitutional right to clean drinking water, fresh air, and a healthful environment than these two bright children, who are suffering the consequences of our state not currently have these essential rights enshrined in our Constitution,” said Bill Samuels, the founder of the good government group EffectiveNY.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing his 2017 priorities which are expected to be released in the first few weeks of 2017; a Constitutional right to clean water and air should be part of his agenda. If not, the responsibility lies with state legislators to take the lead on introduction. A Constitutional amendment must pass two successive Legislatures, as well as voter approval.

Both spots direct viewers to text ‘OurWater’ to 52886 or go to NYCleanWater.org to sign a petition in support of the effort to amend the Constitution to include a new Environmental Bill of Rights.

Environmental Advocates of New York’s mission is to protect our air, land, water, and wildlife and the health of all New Yorkers. Based in Albany, we monitor state government, evaluate proposed laws, and champion policies and practices that will ensure the responsible stewardship of our shared environment. We work to support and strengthen the efforts of New York’s environmental community and to make our state a national leader.

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