Bill S931-2013

Identifies the criteria the commissioner of environmental conservation should consider in publishing a list of high local environmental impact zones

Identifies the criteria the commissioner of environmental conservation should consider in publishing a list of high local environmental impact zones; provides that high local environmental impact zones are areas most adversely affected by existing environmental hazards.

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  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S931

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to high local environmental impact communities

PURPOSE: This bill requires the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to publish a list of those areas in the State that are most adversely affected by existing environmental hazards.

Section 1 of the bill adds a new section 3-0308 to the Environmental Conservation Law requiring DEC to publish a list of "high local environmental impact zones", which are defined as those areas of the State which are most adversely impacted by existing environmental hazards. The analysis of environmental burdens experienced in various areas will be based on the best information available (i.e., at the level of census tract, census block group or nine-digit zip code) to allow more precise targeting of high local impact zones wherever practicable. The biennial list will include zones that exist in whole or part in at least 5% of the zip codes in the state. In compiling this list, DEC must consider numerous potentially adverse environmental impacts within each zip code or area, including:

* releases of toxic chemicals and petroleum discharges;

* emissions, discharges and stored waste authorized by permit;

* the amount of pesticides sold and used;

* the number of bodies of water determined by DEC to be impaired;

* the presence of inactive hazardous waste disposal sites; and

* whether the area has been designated as non-attainment for one or more pollutants pursuant to the federal Clean Air Act.

DEC is required to publish the listing every two years, together with a report identifying the factors considered and how those factors were weighed in compiling the list.

EXISTING LAW: There is no current statutory requirement for the identification of areas that are most adversely impacted by existing environmental hazards. Nevertheless, most of the information that DEC is required to consider in compiling the list of "high local environmental impact zones" under this bill is already available to DEC pursuant to existing provisions of state and federal law.

JUSTIFICATION: The siting of projects with potential adverse environmental impacts is a complex and difficult process. Local residents are never in favor of having such projects located in their communities, and thus government decision makers must undertake a difficult balancing of competing interests in order to select the most appropriate location

for the project. Historically, geographical areas with existing environmental hazards have frequently been selected for the placement of new projects, presumably due to the belief that the "incremental" adverse impact would be less in such an area than in a "pristine" area with no existing environmental problems.

Unfortunately, this process can lead to a concentration of environmental hazards within a small geographical area, and a concomitant increased risk to residents of those areas. Residents of communities with a high presence of environmental pollution are frequently disproportionately afflicted with associated health problems, and there is widespread recognition that such communities are disproportionately populated by persons of low income and/or persons of color.

This bill seeks to address this problem by requiring DEC to identify "high local environmental impact zones", which are defined as those areas of the State that are most adversely impacted by existing environmental hazards.

The need for consideration of such cumulative impacts has been recognized at the federal level, where the EPA has established a principle of "fair treatment" in environmental decision-making, as mandated by President Clinton's 1994 Executive Order on Environmental Justice. This bill will help to ensure that New York State similarly recognizes the existence of such overburdened communities, and that future siting decisions are made only after considering the potential adverse impacts on these communities.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This legislation was submitted during the 2001-02 legislative session (Attorney General Program bill 20-01). As A.7862-A, it passed the Assembly in 2003 and 2004, and was referred in each year to the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. 2009/10: Passed Senate and Assembly - Vetoed by the Governor. 2011/12: S2703

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

The Department of Environmental Conservation may require some minor additional resources to implement the requirements of this bill.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The bill would take effect immediately, and the first report would be published within two years of such effective date.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 931 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. SERRANO, DILAN, KRUEGER, PARKER, PERKINS, STAVISKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to high local environmental impact communities THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The environmental conservation law is amended by adding a new section 3-0308 to read as follows: S 3-0308. IDENTIFICATION OF HIGH LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ZONES. 1. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PUBLISH A BIENNIAL LIST OF "HIGH LOCAL ENVI- RONMENTAL IMPACT ZONES", WHICH SHALL IDENTIFY THOSE AREAS OF THE STATE WHICH ARE MOST ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY EXISTING ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS. SUCH LIST SHALL 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, AND SHALL AT A MINIMUM INCLUDE ZONES EXISTING IN WHOLE OR IN PART IN NO FEWER THAN FIVE PERCENT OF THE FIVE-DIGIT ZIP CODES IN THE STATE. IN COMPILING SUCH LIST, THE COMMISSIONER SHALL CONSIDER, AT A MINIMUM, EACH OF THE FOLLOWING FACTORS, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER FACTORS THAT THE COMMISSIONER DEEMS RELEVANT TO A DETERMINATION OF THE RELATIVE ADVERSE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ON LOCAL COMMUNITIES: A. THE QUANTITIES OF TOXIC CHEMICALS RELEASED WITHIN THE AREA AS REPORTED IN THE TOXICS RELEASE INVENTORY COMPILED PURSUANT TO THE FEDER- AL EMERGENCY PLANNING AND COMMUNITY RIGHT-TO-KNOW ACT (42 U.S.C. SS 11001 ET SEQ.); B. THE QUANTITIES OF EMISSIONS, DISCHARGES AND STORED WASTE AUTHORIZED AT FACILITIES LOCATED IN THE AREA BY PERMITS ISSUED PURSUANT TO ARTICLES 17, 19, 27, 29 AND 40 OF THIS CHAPTER;
C. THE QUANTITIES OF PESTICIDES SOLD AND USED IN THE AREA AS REFLECTED IN THE PESTICIDE SALES AND USE DATA BASE ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO SECTION 33-1201 OF THIS CHAPTER; D. THE NUMBER OF WATER BODIES IN OR ADJACENT TO THE AREA IDENTIFIED BY THE DEPARTMENT AS IMPAIRED PURSUANT TO S 303(D) OF THE FEDERAL WATER POLLUTION ACT (42 U.S.C. S 1313(D)), AND THE RELATIVE SIZE AND IMPAIR- MENT OF THOSE BODIES OF WATER; E. THE NUMBER OF INACTIVE HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL SITES, AS DEFINED IN SECTION 27-1301 OF THIS CHAPTER, IN THE AREA, AND THE RELATIVE AMOUNT OF HAZARDOUS WASTE AT THOSE SITES; F. THE NUMBER AND QUANTITY OF DISCHARGES OF PETROLEUM AS DEFINED IN ARTICLE 12 OF THE NAVIGATION LAW; G. WHETHER THE AREA IS ADJACENT TO ONE OR MORE OTHER AREAS WHICH ARE FOUND TO BE HIGH LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ZONES, WHERE THE ADVERSE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS IN SUCH DESIGNATED ZONES ALSO HAVE ADVERSE IMPACTS ON ADJACENT AREAS; AND H. WHETHER THE AREA IS INCLUDED IN AN AREA DESIGNATED AS NONATTAINMENT FOR ONE OR MORE POLLUTANTS PURSUANT TO S 107 OF THE FEDERAL CLEAN AIR ACT (42 U.S.C. S4207). 2. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PUBLISH THE LISTING OF HIGH LEVEL ENVIRON- MENTAL IMPACT ZONES REQUIRED BY THIS SECTION IN A REPORT WHICH SHALL IDENTIFY THE FACTORS CONSIDERED BY THE COMMISSIONER AND HOW THOSE FACTORS WERE WEIGHED IN MAKING SUCH DESIGNATIONS. SUCH REPORT SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC IN PRINTED FORM AND ON THE DEPARTMENT'S WEBSITE. THE FIRST SUCH REPORT SHALL BE PUBLISHED WITHIN TWO YEARS AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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