Saturday, May 1, 2010

Addressing Environmental Justice in New York City

EPA, DEC, & DEP Host Discussion on Environmental Justice at EPA Region II Office

Norris McDonald at 290 Broadway
AAEA President Norris McDonald participated in the latest meeting of environmental justice activists and New York government agency officials. The meeting was held on Friday, April 30 from 3-5 pm. Approximately 50 environmental justice activists and others attended the meeting.

Opening and closing remarks were given by Judith Enck, EPA Region 2 Administrator, Pete Grannis New York State DEC Commissioner, Cas Holloway, New York City DEP Commissioner. They also answered questions from the participants.

Various commenters listed their respective complaints from process to local problems. Topics on the agenda include: 1) EJ Concerns and Government Responses and 2) Opportunities to Strengthen Community-Government Relationships to Effectively Address NYC EJ Concerns.

Pete Grannis, Cas Holloway, Judith Enck
The meeting was a follow up to the previous meetings to address EJ issues. The particular focus of the meeting was supposed to be to address the August 2009 report: "New York City Environmental Justice Listening Session: Responses to Questions, Comments and Concerns." Most comments were on other issues but there was also some discussion about the issues included in the report. Questions about report, contact:

Terry Wesley, Environmental Justice Coordinator, EPA Region 2

Lisa F. Garcia, Chief Advocate for Environmental Justice and Equity, NYSDEC

Kizzy Charles-Guzman, Policy Advisor NYC Mayoral Office and Agencies

AAMW Hosts Successful Luncheon on 'Smart Grid'

Larry Gottlieb, Norris McDonald, Tony Savino, Hugh Marriott, Melvin Burruss

The African American Men of Westchester (AAMW) April 30th luncheon on the Smart Grid was very informative and about 55 people showed up to participate in the discussion and ask questions. The luncheon, at the elegant Renaissance Westchester Hotel, is another of a series of events AAMW has organized over the past few years to keep county residents informed about the latest energy and environmental issues. Melvin Burruss of Peekskill is president of AAMW and he has been a leader in providing valuable energy and environmental information to his members and the community at large.

A “smart grid” delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using two-way digital technology to control equipment at the consumer‘s premise to save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability. Such a modernized electricity network is being promoted by many as a way of addressing energy independence, global warming and emergency resilience issues. The panel addressing the smart grid issue included:

• Tony Savino – Business Development of the New York Power Authority

• Larry Gottlieb – Director of Westchester County Economic Development

• Norris McDonald – President of African American Environmentalist Association

The moderator was Hugh Marriott, CEO, InService Enterprise, LLC. A series of questions were posed by the moderator to the panelists:

· What are your thoughts on the Smart Grid and its implications to the business community? Is this a good thing?
· Why is it taking so long for it to hit mainstream?
· Where should the intelligence of the smart grid reside – in the meter, in the appliance, on a PC platform, the utility, the consumer, somewhere else, some or all of these?
· Will the market sort this out or is this a matter of regulatory policy? (follow up to the previous question).
· Security: energy consumption, pricing, and load control or demand response data could also be accessible to anyone in cyberspace. Does Smart Grid technology make us less secure or more secure?
· What are the real incentives for companies/consumers to adopt and embrace this technology?
· From an energy management perspective, what choices and opportunities can this technology enable for businesses?
· Can most (or a significant portion) of the net benefits from smart grid choices be captured much more cheaply through other means (e.g. load curtailment, critical peak pricing, traditional rate design, etc.)?
· What are the biggest obstacles to deploying Smart Grid equipment and to generating benefits from these deployments?