This legislation requires that the Department of Environmental Commissioner publish a biennial list of "high local environmental impact zones." The Business Council supports the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Whether by conscious design or institutional neglect, minority and low-income communities have encountered disproportionate environmental harms.
This legislation will identify high local environmental impact zones in as specific detail as is practicable, and shall identify such zones by census tract, census block group or nine digit zip code to the extent possible. In identifying high local environmental impact zones, the commissioner shall consider a number of statutory factors and any other factors that the commissioner deems relevant.
With the wide adoption of geographic information system (GIS), the identification of areas that could be considered “high local environmental impact zones” has become significantly easier.
New York State, pursuant to DEC Policy CP- 29 Environmental Justice and Permitting, incorporates environmental justice concerns into the DEC’s enforcement program, grants program and public participation provisions.
The policy requires that DEC “use geographic information system screening tools and U.S. Census data to identify potential environmental justice areas within New York State.” Additionally, the policy requires that the DEC where a potential environmental justice area is identified by the preliminary screen, provide specific environmental permit applicants with relevant information on environmental justice.
This legislation is consistent with the intent of CP-29, and will provide permit applicants with an additional opportunity to earlier in the permitting process to identify potential concerns. By identifying “high local environmental impact zones” early in the process can make development decisions more predictable, fair, and cost-effective.