Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dan Durett - Director AAEA New York

Dan Durett
Dan Dureett attended the State University of New York at Binghamton, earning a BS degree in history. He earned his MS degree in history from Clark Atlanta University in 1973. Durett went on to complete a graduate degree at Emory University in 1976. As a student at Emory, Durett became interested in the environmental field because of his work in historic preservation and urban environmental issues.

From 1995-1998, Durett worked with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and while there, he established a department of Environmental Education Programs.

Today, Durett works as the director of AAEA New York.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

AAEA - NY Presents Testimony at DEC EJ Hearing

AAEA - NY presented a statement on Tuesday before the New York Department of Environmental Conservation at a hearing at the New York Department of Public Service addressing the proposed Article 10 environmental justice regulations.



Dan Durett (ALJ Daniel O'Connell)
AAEA - NY is concerned about the proposed approach for the evaluation of a potentially significant and adverse disproportionate environmental impact area. The evaluation is left up to the applicant. We are concerned that there are no established criteria proposed in the proposed regulation that can definitively evaluate a 'tipping point' that would trigger rejection of the application based on significant and adverse disproportionate environmental impacts. We are concerned because even the DEC EJ Work Group had trouble agreeing upon a disproportionate impact methodology. If these professional EJ participants had trouble establishing disproportionate impact methodology, we are concerned that applicants will have the capacity to provide an adequate framework for the EJ evaluation.

In New York City, it is estimated that there are 2,290 deaths, 1,580 hospitalizations, 546 asthma-related emergency rooms visits, 1,490 cases of chronic bronchitis, and 46,200 asthma attacks yearly attributable to power plant pollution.  The New York City Area has also been ranked as one of the top five U.S. metropolitan areas for particulate air pollution. And again, these adverse effects disproportionately affect minority communities. In one study, nonwhites in New York City were found to be hospitalized twice as many times as whites on days when ozone levels were high. Another study found that, of the 23 counties in New York State that fail to meet Federal air pollution standards, 37.7% of them are populated by people of color.

That African Americans and other minorities are disproportionately affected by air pollution in New York is not surprising when considering the fact that the majority of air polluting power plants in the New York metropolitan area are located in African American and other minority communities. Based on figures from the 2000 U.S. Census, only 12.3% of New York State is identified as being African American, and 29.4 % of the total population is classified as a minority. However, in communities that are predominantly minority, such as Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, there are a disproportionate number of fossil-fuel power plants emitting criteria air pollutants. For example, there are approximately 1,563,400 people of color, 271,247 children living in poverty, and 40,248 children who suffer from pediatric asthma within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant bordering the New York City metropolitan area. In the Bronx, which is 35.6% African American and 88% minority, there are two power plants. In Brooklyn, which is 36.4% African American and 64% minority, there are seven power plants. In Queens, which is 20% African American and 63.2% minority, there are six power plants. Queens is also ranked among the 10% of U.S. counties in terms of its exposure to criteria air pollutants, and is one of two city boroughs that violates federal standards. In total, there are 24 power plants in the New York Metropolitan area, only a handful of which are in areas where minorities do not comprise the majority of the population.

Finally, from a clean air environmental justice perspective, AAEA - NY is concerned about the potential closure of Indian Point nuclear power plant. If this plant is closed, there will be significant pressure to replace this emission free facility with fossil fuel power plants. This will only increase the burdens on environmental justice areas if replacement power is located in these areas.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Enacted Article 10 Statute:

Power NY Act of 2011

On August 4, 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law Chapter 388 of the Laws of 2011 that enacts Article 10 of the Public Service Law. The primary purpose of Article 10 is to provide for the siting review of new and repowered or modified Major Electric Generating Facilities in New York State by the Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment (Siting Board) in a unified proceeding instead of requiring a developer or owner of such a facility to apply for numerous state and local permits. A previous version of such a law expired on January 1, 2003. Key provisions of the law include:

1. Defines a major electric generating facility as facilities of 25 megawatts or more;

2. Requires environmental and public health impact analysis, studies regarding environmental justice and public safety, and consideration of local laws;

3. Directs applicants to provide funding for both the pre-application and application phases. It allows funding to be used to help intervenors (affected municipalities and other parties) hire experts to participate in the review of the application and for legal fees (but not for judicial challenges);

4. Requires a utility security plan reviewed by Homeland Security and, for New York City (NYC) plants, NYC's emergency management office;

5. Provides for appointment of ad hoc public members of the Siting Board from the municipality where the facility is proposed to be sited; and,

6. Requires a public information coordinator within the Department of Public Service (Department) to "assist and advise interested parties and members of the public" in participating in the siting process.

Chapter 388 of the Laws of 2011 can be accessed via the link below:


Other useful information on the enacted Article 10 statute: Peter McGowan, General Counsel, Department of Public Service, Presentation at ACE NY Conference

Working Draft of Article 10 Regulations for Stakeholder Review and Comment (NYSDPS, Dated: January 13, 2012):The working draft of the Article 10 regulations was developed using the old regulations for the former generating facility siting laws known as Article VIII and Article X of the Public Service Law; detailed stipulations parties had developed under the old Article X law that defined the scope and methodology of studies and analyses that would need to be in an application; and the experience of the Department of Public Service in reviewing requests for approval to site electric generating facilities.

Practitioners who had experience with the former Article X will recognize that the working draft borrows heavily in a generic fashion from the detailed stipulations that were developed under Article X. We hope that by incorporating the comprehensive generic parts of the stipulations into the draft regulations that all parties involved will be informed in advance of the types of studies and analysis that must be included in an application. We envision that parties will still execute stipulations, however, those stipulations will be more narrowly focused on the unique characteristics of the project and its location such that all participants will be able to use their time and resources more efficiently.

Staff from the Department of Public Service will begin receiving oral feedback on the working draft from stakeholders during the week of January 23, 2012. We ask that stakeholders familiarize themselves with the draft before commenting and in particular to try to focus their comments on specific provisions of the draft regulations. This is a working document. The drafting team will continue to improve the document during the stakeholder process. After all the stakeholders are heard from, the team drafting the regulations will consider the feedback and make revisions to the draft, as appropriate, and then present a final draft to the Siting Board for its consideration. When the Siting Board is satisfied with the draft, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, pursuant to the State Administrative Procedure Act, will then be published in the State Register and a formal written comment period will commence where everyone will have an opportunity for further input.

The individuals who signed up to participate as stakeholders represent a broad spectrum of interests and we greatly appreciate your cooperation and assistance. (NYPSC)

Working Draft of Article 10 Regulations 1-13-12.pdf