ALBANYThe state Climate Action Council announced ten hearings in New York to receive public comments on the draft scoping plan. This plan is intended to reduce greenhouse gases and serve as guidelines under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
Then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo enacted CLCPA into law on July 19, 2019, committing the state of California to cut carbon emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. It further mandates that levels should be reduced to 85 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. The law requires acts such as planting trees to offset the remaining 15% in order to achieve net-zero emission.
The law that created this council gave it the task of developing a scopeing plan with recommendations to meet these goals. The plan calls for 70% of the electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2030. It is also necessary for maximum reductions in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Determining these communities is based on a combination of socioeconomic, environmental hazards, public health, and public health factors. It’s a method of climate justice because certain socioeconomic groups are perceived by climate change and pollution to be more harmful than others.
Doreen Harris, New York State Energy Research Development Authority President, CEO and Climate Action Council Chair, stated that this draft criteria is also available. These efforts include climate justice at their core to provide opportunities and better quality of life for under-resourced areas throughout New York State.
Climate Justice Working Group, a subcommittee, of the council, has released an interactive map that identifies which communities are eligible for state-based targeting. Along with parts of Albany Schenectady and Troy, Cohoes, Rensselaer, Bethlehem and other communities are named.
The default map colors disadvantaged communities in plum by default. Clicking on an individual area will open two bar graphs. One lists the population characteristics and vulnerability. This allows you to see how the community compares to almost 5,000 others based on their race, income, health, and housing. The second graph focuses on climate change risk and environmental burden.
A part of Bethlehem is covered by purple, covering Glenmont and Selkirk, as well as Cedar Hill, between the Albany City Line and the Town of Coeymans. The community of 3,088 is not only above the 75th percentile for percentage of adults 65 and older (78), but also the percentage with disability (87). It also falls under a relatively low population vulnerability (22%).
These numbers rise when the state rates the community as having an environmental burden that is higher than 99 percent of the rest of the state. Particularly high numbers are found in seven subcategories: scrap metal processing (75), agriculture land use (75), flooding risk (79), waste water discharge (83), driving time for urgent care (86), regulated chemicals sites (96), and diesel traffic (96).
Ravena’s Village falls at 24 per cent under population vulnerability and 94 per cent under environmental burden. The highest of its factors are industrial manufacturing/mining (96) and driving time to urgent medical care (97).
After being identified, the overall benefits of clean energy and energy efficiency programs would be shared with at least 35 percent of the disadvantaged communities. This could include preferential placements, employment programs, and additional investments. One example of such a program is to install monitoring systems that address air quality problems as soon as they occur.
David VanLuven is Bethlehem Town Supervisor. He said he would welcome any resources from the state to help his town.
He said that climate change is affecting everyone in every community. However, not everyone has the resources to face new challenges or take advantage of emerging opportunities. David VanLuven is Bethlehem Town Supervisor. The community is made up of many income levels and many would be able to benefit from the assistance. I also appreciate the state’s commitment in ensuring an equitable distribution and opportunity in Bethlehem, and neighboring communities.
Jan. 1 was the date that the council released its draft scoping document. It can be viewed at https://climate.ny.gov/. Public comments can be submitted until June 10. A public hearing will be held at the Empire State Plaza on Thursday, April 14th at 4 p.m.