New Jersey passes Environmental Justice Bill to protect communities of color
If passed, the ‘Cumulative Impacts Bill’ will direct NJ’s DEP to say no to permits that would pollute and negatively impact communities of color.
New Jersey passed an Environmental Justice / Cumulative Effects Bill (A2212/S232) on Thursday. Although communities of color and low-income neighborhoods bear the burden of pollution, New Jersey didn’t have a policy to deny pollution permit applications due to toxic pollution from these facilities.
This law will make it more difficult to pollute by low-income, people of color and immigrant populations.
Facilities that will need to have higher regulations and need to go through a special review include:
- Facilities that produce heavy amounts of air pollution such as a gas-fired power plant or refinery.
- Incinerators or sludge processing facilities.
- Large sewage treatment plants.
- Transfer stations that handle solid waste.
- Large recycling facilities, scrap metal facilities, landfills and medical waste incinerators.
The bill will not allow New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection to grant permits for new facilities or expand existing facilities located in a “burdened” community unless they meet the following requirements:
- Prepares a report assessing the environmental impact of the facility or expansion, including cumulative impacts on the burdened community, any adverse environmental effects, and the public health impact
- Organizes and conducts a public hearing in a location convenient and publish public notices of the hearing in at least two newspapers circulating within the burdened community at least 21 days beforehand
- The report shall be made available to the public at least 30 days beforehand.
The bill is on Governor Phil Murphy’s desk, awaiting his signature. New Jersey residents can call the governor at 609-292-6000 to ask him to sign NJ’s Cumulative Impacts Bill.