The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s June decision in Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation v. Wolf, 161 A.3d 911 (Pa. 2017), applying the Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution holds that the government may not act without a prior assessment of the effect the action will have on the “values of the environment.” Further, the government may not take the action if the impact would be “unreasonable.” This is a change from the law in place since 1973, and opens the floor to a host of questions:
- What implications does all this have for parties seeking zoning and land use approvals, non-environmental state and local approvals, or legislation?
- What implications does it have for the government entities to which they apply or to those who oppose the projects those applications would advance?
There will be litigation over the nuances of this new constitutional doctrine, but business and governmental clients need immediate advice. Join PBI for a program that explores these new issues raised by the recent decision.
The Courts’ New View of the Environmental Rights Amendment
- Pre-Action Assessment
- Prohibition on “Unreasonable” Impingement on “Values of the Environment”
- Duty to “Conserve” Public Natural Resources
Who Has Environmental Rights? A Debate
- Which state and local government entities have obligations?
- Who has rights to enforce them, and when?
Practical Steps to Help a Municipal or Non-Environmental Agency Get it Right
- Scope and Scale
Managing the Risk: Diligence and Insurance