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Environmental protection in the Constitution, what happened to it?

It is even from the so-called ‘Bozzi Commission’ of constitutional reform, 36 years ago, that the subject of introducing an explicit constitutional recognition of the right to the environment has been raised in our system . A few years earlier, in 1979 the Cassation, with the famous sentence n. 5172 of 6 October had specified that each man, being the holder of inviolable rights, as an individual but also as a component of social formations has a fundamental right to health .

Even before the reform of Title V of Part Two of the Constitution, which introduced art. 117 the “protection of the environment and the ecosystem” among the matters reserved for the exclusive legislative competence of the State, although there is no specific reference to the environment in the Constitution, the Constitutional Court proceeded , in the process of preparing case law, to the identification and recognition of it as a constitutional value . And other judgments of the Court have followed one another over the years even after the establishment of the Ministry of the Environment , with the recognition of “the effort of the legislator toto give a specific recognition to the safeguard of the environment as a fundamental right of the person and fundamental interest of the community and to create legal institutions for its protection ”.

The debate, therefore, has been open for some time but, certainly also for the complex procedure that requires a constitutional reform, a reform has never been made in this sense. In 2003 Palazzo Madama had approved in a first reading a text that introduced the reference to the natural environment as a further object of protection by the Republic, A provision that was then extensively modified in the transition to the Chamber. That stopped for the end of the legislature.

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