NV Dems Want Environmental Rights And Protections Added To State Constitution
The resolution must also be passed by the next Legislature and then approved and ratified by voters before the proposed amendment becomes effective
By Megan Barth, March 9, 2023 3:07 pm
A constitutional amendment has been proposed and passed by the Democratic majorities in the Nevada Assembly and Senate. Assembly Resolution AJR 3 states, in part, that the State “shall take no action that would cause unreasonable degradation, diminution or depletion of the environment, through direct state action, or inaction, or through the action of others.” To note, the majority of the land in Nevada is owned by the federal government.
The initial goal of this constitutional amendment is referred to as “30 by 30” which translates to “protecting 30 percent of the lands and waters in the State by 2030 and protecting 30 percent of the lands and waters of the United States by 2030″ with a following and continuous nudge aimed at President Joe Biden and Congress “ to support a long-term goal of protecting 50 percent of the planet, inland waters and oceans.”
Assemblypersons Sarah Peters, Howard Watts, Clara Thomas, Fabian Donate and Melanie Scheible have sponsored this resolution and passed along party lines in the Assembly and Senate with a goal to combat climate change and follow President Biden’s lead on his administrations related, environmental efforts.
Assm. Cecilia Gonzalez writes:
The Legislative Digest details the Democratic majority’s proposed environmental justice additions to Nevada’s Constitution (emphasis added):
Article 1 of the Nevada Constitution sets forth certain inalienable rights of an individual. (Nev. Const. Art. 1) This joint resolution proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution by adding a new section which: (1) guarantees each person the right to a clean and healthy environment; (2) mandates a trust obligation of the State to conserve, protect and maintain certain environmental resources; (3) requires the State fulfill its trust obligation equitably for all beneficiaries regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, geography or wealth; and (4) prohibits the State, whether through action, inaction or the action of others, from causing the unreasonable degradation, diminution or depletion of the environment. If this joint resolution is passed by the 2023 Legislature, it must also be passed by the next Legislature and then approved and ratified by the voters in an election before the proposed amendment to the Nevada Constitution becomes effective.
The resolutions of the constitutional amendment are as follows:
RESOLVED BY THE ASSEMBLY AND SENATE OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, JOINTLY, That the members of the 81st Session of the Nevada Legislature express support for the goal of protecting 30 percent of the lands and waters in the State by 2030 and protecting 30 percent of the lands and waters of the United States by 2030; and be if further
RESOLVED, That President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and the Congress of the United States are urged to support a long-term goal of protecting 50 percent of the planet, inland waters and oceans; and be it further
RESOLVED, That state and local agencies engaged in efforts to support and expand the protection of land and waters are urged to honor tribal jurisdictions and the rights of indigenous tribes through informed consultation with tribal governments; and be it further
RESOLVED, That state and local agencies are urged to provide fair treatment and meaningful involvement to people of all races, cultures, incomes and natural origins by soliciting, accounting for and responding to the voices, needs and priorities of communities of color, indigenous communities and economically disadvantaged communities; and be it further
RESOLVED, That state and local agencies are urged to encourage private land owners to participate in voluntary programs to protect wildlife habitat and increase carbon sequestration; and be it further
RESOLVED, That federal, state and local agencies are urged to work with the Nevada Congressional Delegation to identify opportunities for federal legislation and regulatory action to expand protection and conservation measures on public lands in the State…
Supporters of this bill include the Sierra Club, Battle Born Progress, Coalition of Nevada Wildlife, and sixteen other “local businesses and organizations. Opposition to this bill includes, Keystone Corporation, Eureka County, and Nevada Families for Freedom.
Keystone Corporation issued the following statement in opposition: “This language is so vague and ambiguous that it appears to stop or prevent any type of business development or real estate development. This would include a vague restriction against using land for much needed housing and development of businesses (like the Tesla Gigafactory). The term “environment” is very vague. Does this mean that the State cannot regulate wildlife, agriculture or natural resources? In short, the attempt to modify our State Constitution is so vague and ambiguous that the passing of the Resolution and the changes to the Constitution would encourage lawsuits and endless litigation against ordinary citizens who deserve affordable housing and business opportunities.”
The Director of Nevada Families for Freedom Janine Hanson concludes, “The goals of this resolution are possible only if the government plans to steal or confiscate the property and water rights of those who legally own it in Nevada.”
The resolution is being heard by the Legislative Operations and Elections Committee today at 4pm.