Government Affairs Albany UpdateJanuary 4, 2002
The kick-off meeting of the Government Affairs Council is January 15th at 10:00 a.m. This first meeting of the Government Affairs Council is held at the Empire State Plaza to accommodate a larger crowd. It will be held in Meeting Rooms 2 & 3. No advance registration is required.
Brad Race, Secretary to the Governor, will be our featured speaker. Mr. Race will provide his insights on the recovery effort in lower Manhattan as well as likely issues to come up during the 2002 Legislative Session.
The meeting will adjourn at approximately noon.
State Environmental Justice
Staff Contact: Ken
The Department of Environmental Conservation has released a series of recommendations to address concerns about the fair treatment of minority and low income communities in environmental decision-making. The report was developed by a eighteen person Environmental Justice Advisory Group comprised of representatives from environmental and environmental justice organizations, businesses (including The Business Council and several member firms), municipalities, and state agencies.
While the report focuses on the incorporation of environmental justice considerations into the environmental permitting process, it addresses other aspects of state environmental programs as well, including but not limited to the state financing of environmental projects.
Key recommendations include the following:
- DEC should issue public notices at the time of they first
receive permit application rather than at the time DEC
determines that an application is complete. This will provide
the public with more timely notice of pending projects.
- DEC should enhanced its public information efforts in
minority and low income communities that could be affected
by proposed projects, and - in some instance - make technical
assistance grants available to community groups to assist
in their assessment of potential environmental impacts.
- The state's environmental quality review act regulations should be amended to require: an assessment of whether proposed project will have any significant, adverse and disproportionate impacts on minority and low income communities; and consideration of alternatives for avoiding or mitigating disproportionate environmental impacts identified as part of an environmental impact statement.
These recommendations will undergo a public review and comment period before the DEC makes any decision regarding implementation. The Department will be accepting public comments February 22, 2002, and will be scheduling a series of public workshops to elicit public input.
Ken Pokalsky, The Business Council's Director of Environmental Programs, was a member of the EJAC, and welcomes any questions or comments you may have.