In November 1972 the citizens of Massachusetts approved at the ballot Article 97, which became the 97th Amendment to the State Constitution. The amendment reads:
"The people shall have the right to clean air and water, freedom from excessive and unnecessary noise, and the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic qualities of their environment; and the protection of the people in their right to the conservation, development and utilization of the agricultural, mineral, forest, water, air and other natural resources is hereby declared to be a public purpose.
The general court shall have the power to enact legislation necessary or expedient to protect such rights.
In the furtherance of the foregoing powers, the general court shall have the power to provide for the taking, upon payment of just compensation therefore, or for the acquisition by purchase or otherwise, of lands and easements or such other interests therein as may be deemed necessary to accomplish these purposes.
Lands and easements taken or acquired for such purposes shall not be used for other purposes or otherwise disposed of except by laws enacted by a two thirds vote, taken by yeas and nays, of each branch of the general court."
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