Policy Update

New York Legislature Passes Cumulative Impacts Bill

June 7, 2022

Region

Northeast

NCEL Point of Contact

Gabrielle Houston
Project Manager for Zero Waste and Circular Economy

Contact

New York is one step closer to joining states like New Jersey and Maryland which have signed into law cumulative impact or environmental justice laws. S8830, if enacted, would prevent the approval and re-issuing of permits for actions that would increase disproportionate and/or inequitable pollution burdens on disadvantaged communities. The New York legislature passed the bill in April and it is now awaiting signature by Governor Hochul.

S8830 also:

  • Declares that each community in the state should equitably share the responsibilities and benefits of solving the state’s environmental issues. 
  • Amends the state’s environmental conservation law to include the existing burden report that is meant to describe the existing pollution burden in a disadvantaged community.

In 2021, the EPA found that across the U.S. Black, Indigenous, and communities of color experience higher than normal rates of toxic air pollution. Cumulative impacts are the combined, incremental effects of human activity which may be insignificant alone but accumulate over time and result in the degradation of public health and the environment. Communities facing environmental injustices are more susceptible to cumulative impacts. Other states considering legislation to address cumulative impacts are California, Rhode Island, and Illinois

If signed by the Governor, New York is poised to ensure environmental justice for millions of residents across the state.