The state Department of Environmental Conservation today adopted regulations to require new or expanding power plants to evaluate the impacts on so-called environmental justice communities, which are mainly inner cities.
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said the regulations are the first in the country to require “an environmental justice analysis” in the siting of electric generating facilities. The measure was included in the Power NY Act of 2011 that passed by the Legislature last year under the guidance of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“These first-of-their-kind regulations will help populations disproportionately affected by high asthma hospitalization,” Martens said in a statement. “Under DEC’s new regulations, an environmental justice analysis must be completed if a proposed electric generating facility’s potential adverse environmental and public health impacts may affect an environmental justice area.”
The DEC also adopted new regulations to restrict carbon dioxide emissions from new facilities.
According to DEC, the regulations require applicants to:
evaluate the cumulative impact on air quality; evaluate the demographic, economic and physical description of the community where the facility will be located, compared and contrasted to the county and adjacent communities evaluate the significant and adverse disproportionate environmental impacts of a proposed major electric generating facility, if any, resulting from its construction or operation; and Avoid, minimize or offset any significant adverse disproportionate environmental impacts to the maximum extent practicable.
The regulations take effect July 12.