New York Enacts Cumulative Impacts Bill
January 3, 2023
New York has joined states like New Jersey and Maryland which have enacted cumulative impact or environmental justice laws. New York’s new cumulative impacts law, S8830, will 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 was signed by Governor Hochul in late December.
- 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 that recently considered legislation to address cumulative impacts are California, Rhode Island, and Illinois.
With S8830 enacted, New York is poised to ensure environmental justice for millions of residents across the state.