Commercial and industrial facilities and projects are often disproportionately sited in minority and low-income communities. These types of facilities and projects are large sources of pollution, posing adverse environmental and community health risks.
This bill requires the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to biennially document those areas and communities statewide which host environmental hazards, such as impaired water bodies, toxic sites, and chemical discharges, to guide future development in a more just and equitable manner. The legislation proposes data be compiled at the census tract, census block group, or nine-digit zip code level. By summarizing the existing pollution loads within certain areas and then identifying the highest environmental impact zones, a higher level of attention will be brought to the issue of inequity in the siting of environmentally harmful facilities.
This list will serve as an important tool in combating the construction of additional polluting facilities in areas that are already bearing more than their fair share of the burden. Additionally, critical information about potential hazards will be more available to the general public, allowing New Yorkers to better educate themselves about environmental and health hazards existing in their communities.
This bill requires DEC to issue biennial reports listing high local environmental impact zones across the state. Such zones are defined as areas adversely affected by existing environmental hazards. The list would be compiled by aggregating toxic release and pollution data from a number of state and federal environmental databases in one concise report.