Establish a permanent environmental justice advisory group.
- Date Due:
- Responsible Entity:
- Establish a permanent environmental justice advisory group.
- The DEC must establish a permanent environmental justice advisory group within the DEC consisting of 17 members.
- EJ Law § 1 adds new ECL §48-0105(1)-(2).
On December 23, 2019 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation (S.2385/A.1564) to create a permanent Environmental Justice Advisory Group (EJAG) and Interagency Coordinating Council (EJICC). The Advisory Group will create a model environmental justice policy that ensures that New Yorkers -- regardless of race, income, gender and national origin -- have a right to fair treatment and meaningful involvement in the development of regulations and policies that affect the quality of their environment. The Interagency Coordinating Council will provide guidance to each state agency implementing environmental justice policies.
A comprehensive, and ongoing list of EJAG members can be found here.
EJ Law § 1 adds new ECL § 48-0105(1)-(2): "The permanent environmental justice advisory group is hereby established in the department to consist of seventeen members, as follows:
(a) Five members shall be representatives of community-based organizations that advise or assist minority and low-income communities on environmental matters.
(b) Four members shall be representatives of businesses that hold permits or otherwise operate subject to this chapter.
(c) Two members shall be representatives of environmental conservation offices of local government.
(d) The remaining members shall be representatives of state or national organizations promoting environmental conservation, researchers, educators and members of the general public."
Appointment of Members:
"(e) One of the members appointed pursuant to each of paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) of this subdivision shall be appointed by the temporary president of the senate, and one of the members appointed pursuant to each of paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) of this subdivision shall be appointed by the speaker of the assembly. One member shall be appointed by the minority leader of the senate and one member shall be appointed by the minority leader of the assembly. The remaining members appointed pursuant to this subdivision shall be appointed by the governor. The replacement of any member shall be in accordance with the provisions contained in this section for appointment of members."
Term Served and Voting of EJ advisory group members:
"(a) Each member of the advisory group shall serve for a term of four years or until his or her successor is appointed. A member appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve the remainder of the term of the member he or she is appointed to succeed. The members of the advisory group shall receive no compensation for their services but shall be reimbursed for their expenses actually and necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties hereunder.
(b) The advisory group shall select a chair from among the members. The advisory group shall meet as frequently as necessary, but not less than three times per year. Such meetings shall be held at such locations as the advisory group may determine. All such meetings shall be subject to the open meetings law. At least one meeting annually shall be held jointly with the environmental justice interagency coordinating council stablished pursuant to section 48-0111 of this article. Each member of the advisory group shall be entitled to designate in writing a representative to attend meetings in his or her place and to vote or otherwise act on his or her behalf in his or her absence.
(c) Staff services for the advisory group shall be performed, insofar as practicable, by personnel of the department. The advisory group may request and shall receive from any state agency such assistance and data as will enable it properly to carry out its activities hereunder and effectuate the purposes set forth herein."
Power and Duties
ECL § 48-0107(1)-(8): "The advisory group shall have the power and duty to:
1. adopt a model environmental justice policy applicable generally to state agencies that engage in activities or operations that may have a significant effect on the environment, including but not limited to through the adoption of rules and regulations, issuance of permits, acquisition or maintenance of property, or approval, funding or undertaking of projects. Such policy shall be adopted not later than one year after the effective date of this article. The advisory group shall develop the model policy in consultation with representatives of minority and low-income communities, regulated parties, the environmental justice interagency coordinating council and other state agencies and the public and shall hold a public hearing thereon in each judicial department. Notice of such hearings and notice of the adoption of the model policy shall be published in the state register;
2. Advise state agencies of their responsibilities under section 48-0109 of this article;
3. Monitor compliance with the environmental justice policies of state annually on the extent to which agencies are in compliance with the requirements of this article and other state laws and Federal laws and regulations relating to environmental justice;
4. Provide comments on any proposed rule, regulation or policy of a state or federal agency related to environmental justice;
5. Accept, as agent of the state, any grant including federal grants or any gift for the purposes of this article. Any monies so received may be expended by the advisory group to effectuate any purpose of this article, subject to the applicable provisions of the state finance law;
6. Conduct public hearings with respect to any matter within the scope of its functions, powers and duties;
7. Adopt, amend and repeal by-laws governing its organization and operation and such rules and regulations, consistent with this article, as it deems necessary to administer this article; and
8. Do any and all things necessary or convenient to carry out its functions, powers and duties under this article."
ECL § 48-0109(1)-(3): "1. Each state agency that engages in activities or operations that have a significant effect on the environment, including but not limited to through the adoption of rules and regulations, issuance of permits, acquisition or maintenance of property, or approval, funding or undertaking of projects, shall be guided in its decision making on such activities or operations by an environmental justice policy. Each such agency shall adopt rules and regulations setting forth its environmental justice policy not later than six months after the adoption of a model environmental justice policy pursuant to section 48-0107 of this article. The agency thereafter shall comply in all respects with the environmental justice policy set forth in its rules and regulations; provided, however, that in the absence of such rules and regulations, the agency shall comply in all respects with the model environmental justice policy.
2. Each state agency subject to the requirements of subdivision one of this section shall:
(a) appoint a staff member of the agency to serve as environmental justice coordinator, to provide information to the public on the policies, activities and operations of the agency related to environmental justice and to act as liaison to the environmental justice advisory group;
(b) notify the advisory group of the appointment of an environmental justice coordinator; and
(c) develop an environmental justice training plan which includes the provision of workshops and written materials to appropriate staff regarding environmental justice and implementation of the agency's environmental justice policy.
3. This section shall apply to any state agency notwithstanding any exemption such agency may have from other laws, including but not limited to any exemption from article eight of this chapter."