Skip to main content
Subnational Environmental Constitutionalism and Reform in New York State
Pace Law Review (2017)
  • James R. May
The State of New York’s constitution was perhaps the first in the world to embody environmental constitutionalism, most directly in what is known as its “Forever Wild” mandate from 1894. In contrast to many subnational environmental provisions, courts in New York have regularly enforced Forever Wild. New York’s Constitution also contains a remarkable mandate that every twenty years voters decide whether to hold elections for delegates to convene a convention to amend the state’s charter.

This article has three parts. Part I provides a primer to the field of subnational environmental constitutionalism. Part II explores the opportunities and challenges in enforcing existing subnational environmental provisions. Part III then examines a case study involving language to consider at a constitutional convention for the State of New York.
  • environmental constitutionalism,
  • environmental law,
  • constitutional law,
  • subnational constitutions,
  • New York,
  • environmental rights
Publication Date
Citation Information
James R. May. "Subnational Environmental Constitutionalism and Reform in New York State" Pace Law Review Vol. 38 (2017) p. 121
Available at: