Maya K. van Rossum
Maya K. van Rossum is the founder of Green Amendments For The Generations, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring a movement to amend state constitutions to recognize and protect environmental rights on par with other inalienable civic and political freedoms.
She is also the Delaware Riverkeeper, leading the regional advocacy organization, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, for over 27 years. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network works throughout the four states of the Delaware River watershed (NY, NJ, PA & DE) and at the national level using advocacy, science and litigation to protect the Delaware River and its tributaries. van Rossum is skilled as an author, environmental attorney, strategist, community organizer, facilitator, coalition builder and manager.
Maya was appointed to NJ Governor Murphy’s 2019 transition committee on environment and energy, was honored as a River Hero in 2020 by the River Network, was named in 2019 as one of Philadelphia Business Journal’s Power 100, and was also named One Of The “10 Most Influential People of 2015” When It Comes to Energy Issues by SNL Energy, a testament to her leadership in efforts to ban fracking and to prevent the ongoing proliferation of fracked gas infrastructure such as pipelines and compressor stations. She has testified, by invitation, three times before U.S. Congressional committees and also founded the Environmental Law Clinic at Temple’s Beasley School of Law.
In 2013, Maya testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee opposing a bill that would make it easier to approve fracked gas pipeline projects cutting through creeks, rivers, communities, wetlands, forests, and farmlands. In 2000, she testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources regarding wild and scenic designation for the lower Delaware River.
van Rossum was a lead petitioner in the landmark Robinson Township, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et. al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania case that breathed new life into Pennsylvania’s long ignored environmental rights amendment. The case, decided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2013, revived the state’s long-ignored Constitutional Environmental Rights Amendment, empowering it to protect the people’s right to pure water, clean air, and a healthy environment. This victory inspired her to write the book, The Green Amendment, Securing Our Right to a Healthy Environment, in which she coined and defined the term "Green Amendment," and embarked on the journey of crafting and advancing the national Green Amendment movement. Maya's book was selected as the 2018 Living Now Evergreen Awards GOLD Winner in the Nature Conservation category and was honored as a 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Winner. The Green Amendment movement is inspiring communities across the nation to secure their own self-executing and enforceable, constitutional right to a healthy environment by pursuing Green Amendments in every state constitution and ultimately at the federal level.
In addition to her own book, The Green Amendment, Maya has authored forewords for Damming the Delaware: The Rise and Fall of Tocks Island Dam by Richard Albert, and A Paddler’s Guide to the Delaware River by Gary Letcher.
Maya is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.