Article I, Section 27 was agreed to in the 1969-1970 and 1971 session of
the General Assembly, and approved by the state’s voters on May 18, 1971. This article attempts to put in one place all of the bills and other documents that represent its passage through this process. More than 40 years after its adoption, many of these documents are relatively hard to find. We hope that this legislative history will make it easier for the public, the bar, and others to
see what was done, and why.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down a portion of Act 13, the controversial 2012 update of the state's oil and gas law, finding that the law violated Article I Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution (the environmental rights clause). The majority opinion states that "To describe this case simply as a zoning or agency discretion matter would not capture the essence of the parties’ fundamental dispute regarding Act 13. Rather, at its core, this dispute centers upon an asserted vindication of citizens’ rights to quality of life on their properties and in their hometowns, insofar as Act 13 threatens degradation of air and water, and of natural, scenic, and esthetic values of the environment, with attendant effects on health, safety, and the owners’ continued enjoyment of their private property."