Arizona state Sen. Juan Mendez was writing a bill to reinforce h2o protections in Arizona when he learned about an emerging legal concept that he now believes could offer even more robust and broader protections for the environment. 

The plan came from Maya van Rossum, a lawyer and environmental activist whose firm successfully brought down a professional-fracking law in 2013 using a seldom used “environmental rights amendment” in Pennsylvania’s constitution. The amendment, which is aspect of the state’s bill of legal rights, says the people have a correct to clean air, pure drinking water and the preservation of the ecosystem. 

Since then, van Rossum has been urging other states to adopt equivalent amendments. 

Now Mendez wants to amend Arizona’s constitution to realize the right to a “clean and healthy” surroundings. The amendment is only a few sentences, but would properly set environmental legal rights on par with free speech, flexibility of religion and gun legal rights in the state. 

Juan Mendez is a state senator from Tempe.

Mendez, D-Tempe, thinks a green modification could address a vary of ongoing difficulties, including the sizzling button situation in Oak Flat, the place a proposed copper mine has ignited environmental and Indigenous activists. 

The right to a wholesome surroundings is a concept some government bodies throughout the earth have been considering recently.

In October, a month in advance of the climate meeting in Glasgow, the United Nations Human Rights Council recognized the human proper to a “clean, healthful and sustainable” natural environment. About a month later on, New York ratified an modification to its point out constitution, recognizing the right to a healthy environment in the invoice of rights.