CJWG to Meet; City of Albany Receives Grant; Working Together for An Equitable Future; Disadvantaged Communities Criteria to Advance Climate Justice

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Environmental Justice Announcements 

Climate Justice Working Group to Meet

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) 13-member Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG) established under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), will hold a meeting on Tuesday, April 4, 2023. The Climate Justice Working Group is tasked with establishing criteria for identifying disadvantaged communities for the purposes of co-pollutant reductions, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, regulatory impact statements, and the allocation of investments pursuant to the CLCPA.

This meeting will include the approval of minutes from the previous meeting and a group discussion following the finalization of the disadvantaged communities criteria on March 27. Members of the public are welcome to attend in person or listen to the meeting via webcast. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged and can be done by clicking the WebEx link below.

When: Tuesday, April 4, 12 p.m. ET

Where: Virtual - https://meetny.webex.com/weblink/register/r4182e6bb1c17b8777bc88dc93a877c3b

Webinar password: welcome4.4.23

Audio: Dial 1-518-549-0500; Access code: 161 243 4848 and password 93526634

In-Person: Event locations, times, and partners:

  • NY Green Bank, Alistair W.C. Clark Boardroom, 1333 Broadway, Suite 300, New York, NY 10018
  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) 15 Columbia Circle, Plattsburgh Conference Room, Albany, NY 12203
  • DEC Region 5 Office, 1115 NYS Rt. 86, Ray Brook, NY 12977
  • DEC Region 8 Office, 6274 East Avon-Lima Rd., Avon, NY 14414

Additional Information: This meeting will also be recorded and posted on the Climate Act website within three days, or as soon as practicable.

City of Albany Receives $75K Grant from New York State DEC to Plant 120 New Trees in Historically Underserved Neighborhoods

DEC's Urban and Community Forestry Program works with communities to manage their community forests and develop self-sustaining local community forestry programs. Up to $350,000 was made available for Tree Planting in Disadvantaged Communities after Ash Loss. Recently, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan joined DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and community members to highlight a $75,000 grant the City of Albany received through the program to plant 120 new trees in Albany's West Hill and Arbor Hill neighborhoods

These trees will be planted in three groups of 40. The City will begin this spring by planting trees on Manning Blvd. and North Main Avenue from Washington Avenue to Central Avenue, and the following two rounds will be throughout the Central Avenue corridor along West Hill and Arbor Hill.

To kick off this new 120 tree initiative, Mayor Sheehan and Commissioner Seggos joined community members to plant a Bald Cypress tree near the largest Bald Cypress Tree remaining in New York State to plant a new Bald Cypress Tree at the entrance to Swinburne Park.

A list and map of the locations will be available on the City of Albany's website. If a tree is being planted in front of a resident’s property, that resident will receive a notification letter outlining the process prior to the tree being planted. 

In 2020, Mayor Sheehan launched the 2025 Tree Planting initiative where the City of Albany pledged to plant 2,025 by the year 2025. The City ended 2022 having planted 1,753 trees and with the trees we have committed to plant this year the City anticipated meeting that goal 2 years early.

Climate Justice: Working Together for An Equitable Future

Environmental Justice is the fair and meaningful treatment of all people, regardless of race, income, national origin or color, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. 6,740,650 million New Yorkers (34%) live in potential environmental justice areas. This new short video highlights the important connection between environmental justice and climate justice. Visit the City of Yonkers, NY where community-based Groundwork Hudson Valley is helping tackle heat stress and flooding while employing local youths. Partners discuss how we can bring more residents to the table when communities plan for their future.

Captions available in English and Spanish (subtítulos disponibles en inglés y español).

To learn more:

-in Spanish-

Justicia Climática: Trabajando Juntos por un Futuro Equitativo

La justicia ambiental es el trato justo y significativo de todas las personas, independientemente de su raza, ingresos, origen nacional o color, con respecto al desarrollo, implementación y cumplimiento de las leyes, reglamentos y políticas ambientales. 6,740,650 millones de neoyorquinos (34%) viven en áreas potenciales de justicia ambiental. Este video destaca la importante conexión entre la justicia ambiental y la justicia climática. Visite la ciudad de Yonkers, NY, donde Groundwork Hudson Valley, con base en la comunidad, está ayudando a combatir el estrés por calor y las inundaciones mientras emplea a jóvenes locales. Los socios discuten cómo podemos traer más residentes a la mesa cuando las comunidades planifican su futuro. Subtítulos disponibles en inglés y español.

Para aprender más:

Inclusive Community Engagement Primer (PDF)

Guidance to improve community engagement in implementing Climate Smart Community actions.

Inclusive community engagement is essential for successful environmental decision-making at the local level. The New York State Climate Smart Communities Program seeks to guide local governments in their community engagement efforts, particularly for inclusion of Disadvantaged Communities (DAC). Only through the leadership of those most affected by the climate crisis and environmental pollution can environmental and climate justice be achieved.

In this primer, you will:

  • Learn concepts for the meaningful inclusion of these populations in your local climate and environmental planning activities.
  • Be introduced to the Spectrum of Community Engagement to Ownership, a framework that visualizes the journey from community marginalization and harm to community empowerment and voice in decision-making.
  • Learn best practices for inclusive community engagement that will challenge when, how, and with whom you engage.
  • And be presented with examples and evaluation tools that demonstrate how to incorporate these practices into your community’s CSC Certification actions.

Climate Justice Working Group Finalizes Disadvantaged Communities Criteria to Advance Climate Justice

Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG) finalized the criteria for identifying disadvantaged communities. Following the CJWG vote, the criteria is enacted and will guide the equitable implementation of New York's ambitious Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) provisions that prioritize disadvantaged communities by requiring reductions in air pollution and climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions and targeting clean energy and energy efficiency investments.

The Climate Act requires New York State to invest or direct resources to ensure that disadvantaged communities receive at least 35 percent, with the goal of 40 percent, of overall benefits of spending on clean energy and energy efficiency programs - one of several ways the Climate Act prioritizes climate justice. The Climate Act also requires State agencies and entities to prioritize greenhouse gas emissions co-pollutant reductions and ensure State decision-making does not disproportionately burden disadvantaged communities.

The CJWG, established in the Climate Act, is comprised of 13 representatives from organizations working in frontline environmental justice communities across New York State and supported by a team of State agency and technical experts. For more than two years, the CJWG worked to identify disadvantaged communities by evaluating, and ultimately voting on 45 indicators, including: environmental burdens and climate change risks; sociodemographic factors such as age, race, and income; and health vulnerabilities. Using a methodology that worked at the census tract level, the CJWG combined and ranked all indicators into an overall score.

In addition to the geographic component, the criteria includes low-income households located anywhere in New York State for the purpose of investing or directing clean energy and energy efficiency programs, projects, and investments. These individual households report annual total income at or below 60 percent of the State median income, or households otherwise eligible for low-income programs.

Learn more about the CJWG and the Climate Act