Wednesday, February 4, 2009

AAEA-NY Supports New York Environmental Justice Bill

AAEA-NY supports New York State Assembly Bill AO 1985, the "New York State Environmental Justice Act." The act amends the Environmental Conservation Law to develop and implement a procedure within the State's agencies, boards and commission to insure that all New York communities are afforded fair treatment and meaningful involvement in environmental decision making.

The bill:

Declares the findings that racial and ethnic minority populations and low-income communities bear a disproportionate share of health risks caused by polluted air and contaminated water, solid waste landfills, hazardous waste facilities, waste water treatment plants, waste incinerators, and other similar projects.

Defines environmental justice, requires all agencies to adopt andimplement environmental justice policies, requires all state environmental protection programs and policies to be periodically reviewed, requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to create an Environmental Justice Advisory Council and an Environmental Justice Task Force.

Provides that the Environmental Justice Advisory Council and the Environmental Justice Task Force will be established and operating by October 1, 2008. Passage of the bill would show that the State of New York will be committed to ensuring that communities are afforded fair treatment and meaningful involvement in decision-making through government procedures that will safeguard the health and welfare of residents and achieve environmental justice.

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