NYC Climate Justice Agenda: Strengthening the Mayor's OneNYC Plan
In April 2016, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) and our member organizations released our report, NYC Climate Justice Agenda: Strengthening the Mayor's OneNYC Plan. The purpose of the report is to: a) assess whether or not efforts from City government, as laid out in the City's sustainability and resiliency blueprints, can begin to reduce the vulnerabilities of low-income communities and communities of color to climate change impacts; and b) propose recommendations to broaden and strengthen such protections.
NYC Climate Justice Agenda discusses the strengths and shortcomings in the Mayor's OneNYC plan related to the following areas of climate policy:
1. Climate adaptation and mitigation
2. Equity and infrastructure
3. Public health
4. Community preparedness
5. Community-based planning
The recommendations laid out in the Agenda will help build a healthier, more equitable, climate-resilient City for vulnerable, low-income communities and communities of color. This report also lifts up community-based, climate justice initiatives, spearheaded by NYC-EJA members and allies, that complement, and in some cases even exceed, OneNYC's goals.
To read the report, click here.
The South Bronx Community Resiliency Agenda
With the support of the Kresge Foundation's Climate Resilience and Urban Opportunity Initiative, a national competitive process, NYC-EJA has partnered with its member organization THE POINT CDC to engage local communities in creating a comprehensive climate resiliency agenda that will strengthen both the physical and social resiliency of the South Bronx Significant Maritime and Industrial Area (SMIA). Of particular relevance for the entire region is the storm surge vulnerability of the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center. This is the largest food market in the U.S. and second largest internationally -- feeding over 23 million people throughout the region, while generating $3 billion in revenues and employing over 3,000 workers.
NYC-EJA and our member organizations have been working to promote climate adaptation and resiliency in Hunts Point and other neighborhoods in the South Bronx that are impacted by disproportionate environmental burdens. As part of these efforts, NYC-EJA introduced the PennDesign/Olin team to EJ issues affecting Hunts Point, and facilitated a successful collaboration with THE POINT CDC -- who played a key role engaging local stakeholders and reviewing planning proposals throughout the planning/design phase of Hunts Point Lifelines.
Winner of the Rebuild by Design competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Hunts Point Lifelines has successfully created a planning framework to address issues of equity in its approach to reduce neighborhood vulnerability -- while working in partnership with South Bronx communities. With the City’s commitment to provide a $25 million leverage to the original $20 million federal investment, the communities that live and work in the South Bronx are taking an important step toward a more sustainable and resilient industrial waterfront.
The South Bronx Community Resiliency Agenda seeks to respond to resiliency needs of other communities within the SMIA, and hold implementation accountable to community priorities established thus far -- and throughout a multi-year planning process that will have major impacts on the South Bronx waterfront.
NY Renews is an unprecedented coalition of community-based organizations, environmental justice groups, labor unions, faith groups, business leaders, and other advocates from across the state working together to demand healthy communities, good jobs, 100% clean energy, environmental justice, and worker protection. Throughout Fall 2015, NYC-EJA, ALIGN NY, and the Working Families Party co-convened upstate and downstate meetings to develop consensus around a policy platform. The still-growing coalition now has over 40 groups, and over 1,000 people attended launch events in NYC and Buffalo on 12/16/15. NY Renews is calling on Albany to make New York State's climate commitments legally enforceable and ensure accountability. For more information or to get involved, go to: http://nyrenews.org/
Climate Works for All
Climate Works for All unites environmental justice, faith, labor, and economic and social justice groups around a just transition agenda for sustainability in NYC. NYC-EJA developed the ten-point Climate Works for All agenda in collaboration with ALIGN, NYC Central Labor Council, the BlueGreen Alliance, and National AFL-CIO. Enacting these proposals will create good quality jobs and career paths for New Yorkers who are exposed to the greatest hazards of climate change and economic unfairness. In December 2014, the Climate Works for All partners convened a meeting of labor, environmental justice, and community groups to review the Climate Works for All platform and build power for the campaign.
Read the Climate Works for All report and learn more about how NYC can become the national leader on climate jobs, and elevate the grassroots voices of people on the frontlines of the environmental justice movement!
The Sandy Regional Assembly
On January 26, 2013, nearly 200 participants representing over 40 community, environmental justice, labor and civic groups from across New York City, New Jersey and Long Island – from the neighborhoods most impacted by Superstorm Sandy, and most vulnerable to future storm surges –convened the Sandy Regional Assembly to strategize how government officials should implement a Sandy rebuilding program.
In April 2013, these groups presented their Sandy Regional Assembly Recovery Agenda – the first regional grassroots Sandy rebuilding and resiliency plan. The Recovery Agenda was a mix of suggested capital projects and policy recommendations, designed to advance 3 goals:
1. Integrate regional rebuilding efforts with local resiliency priorities;
2. Strengthen vulnerable communities & reduce public health threats, and
3. Expand community-based climate change planning, disaster preparedness & response.
The Sandy Regional Recovery Agenda was shared with Mayor Bloomberg’s Sandy Rebuilding team – called the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (or SIRR) – as well as with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, other members of the federal Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, the federal Joint Field Office established under the National Disaster Recovery Framework and headed by FEMA, and Governor Cuomo’s office.
In July 2013, the Sandy Regional Assembly released our Analysis of Mayor Bloomberg’s SIRR Report, and whether it addressed vulnerable community priorities from the Sandy Regional Recovery Agenda. Several Assembly recommendations were incorporated into the Mayor’s SIRR Report. To address other missing priorities, the Assembly urged the federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding task Force to:
1. Demonstrate that recovery and resiliency planning efforts integrate community priorities and use transparent and democratic decision-making processes.
2. Guarantee that NYC Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) integrate regional rebuilding efforts with local resiliency priorities; and
3. Ensure that future New York City recovery and resiliency planning efforts address the needs of the most vulnerable communities.
The federal Sandy Rebuilding Task Force led by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan released their report in August 2013. The Federal Report – called the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy – included several Sandy Regional Assembly priorities missing from the SIRR, and highlighted the problem of environmental justice and industrial waterfront vulnerability to storm surges (see p. 132 of the Report.)
On the 3rd Anniversary of Sandy, the New York Times invited a short Op Ed from NYC-EJA.
Reports and presentations
This New York City Panel on Climate Change report references NYC-EJA's Waterfront Justice Project research on potential hazardous exposures in/around the Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas (SMIAs) in the event of severe weather.
Recovery from the ground up: Strategies for community-based resiliency in New York and New Jersey.
An assessment of the Mayors’ Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) Plan, and recommendations for the federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force.
- In anticipation of the OneNYC update, NYC-EJA released the NYC Climate Justice Agenda to asses the extent to which the Mayor's sustainability and resiliency blueprints address environmental and climate justice issues, and the type of progress achieved to date. The Agenda also highlights community-based initiatives and recommendations to address these issues.
- The City committed to addressing the vulnerability of industrial facilities to climate change impacts through the Open Industrial Uses and Resilient Industry studies. These studies will help assess potential hazardous exposures from industrial sites in the event of severe weather, and create a detailed inventory of best management practices for pollution prevention and climate adaptation.
- Mayor Bloomberg's SIRR report and the federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding task Force's report included several Sandy Regional Assembly priorities, and highlighted the problem of environmental justice and industrial waterfront vulnerability to storm surges.
- The Hunts Point Lifelines Proposal, submitted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Design and OLIN and supported by THE POINT CDC, received a combined $45 million from US-HUD’s Rebuild by Design Competition and the City of New York. NYC-EJA facilitated discussions leading to the adoption of issues & opportunities prioritized in the Sandy Regional Assembly Recovery Agenda for Hunts Point.
Public testimony and Press Statements
Testimony to the New York City Council Committee on Recovery and Resiliency in support of Intro. 1155-2016 to maintain a voluntary registry of people who may need evacuation assistance in the event of an emergency (1/19/17)
Sandy Regional Assembly SIRR Press Release (07/23/13)
NYC-EJA in the News
am New York: Carmelo Anthony endorses Brooklyn Queens Connector in outreach campaign (11/28/16)
The Nation: There’s a Right Way—and a Wrong Way—for Cities to Mitigate Climate Change (11/22/16)
Village Voice: Gentrified Aquarium: De Blasio's Streetcar and the Tale of Two Waterfronts (9/16/16)
Public News Service: Making Environmental Justice a Priority in State Climate Plans (9/2/16)
BRIC TV: Environmental Justice in Central Brooklyn (4/27/16)
WNYC, The Brian Lehrer Show: A New York City Earth Day Check-In (4/22/16)
NY1, Inside City Hall: Executive Director of NYC Environmental Justice Alliance Weighs in on City's Environmental Plan (4/21/16)
Manhattan Times: Ground Control (4/20/16)
Telesur Noticias: Alertan deficiencias en plan de NY contra el cambio climático (04/09/16)
City Limits: What Environmentalists Want to hear from Mayor de Blasio on Earth Day (4/15/16)
City Lab: Does the OneNYC Sustainability Plan Really Address Equity? (4/13/16)
Pavement Pieces: New Report Says Low-Income Communities of Color are not Prepared for Climate Change (4/5/16)
Politico New York: Environmental Justice Groups Deliver Critique of de Blasio Climate Plan (4/4/16)
NY Daily News: Critics blast de Blasio's flood protection plan for leaving low-income areas vulnerable (4/4/16)
El Diario: Critican plan para enfrentar el cambio climático en Nueva York (4/4/16)
Crain's New York Business: The mayor must get tough with NYC's biggest energy guzzlers: its buildings (12/14/15)
Politico New York: Progressive caucus pushes two energy policies (12/14/15)
Independent Sources - CUNY TV: Still Struggling (11/11/15)
The New York Times: Three Years After Sandy, Are Coastal Communities Safer? (10/28/15)
Capital NY: De Blasio plans more extensive feedback process for PlaNYC (2/26/15)
Gotham Gazette: The Climate Justice Mayor: How De Blasio Can Reduce Emissions and Create Good Jobs (1/30/15)
WBAI Pacifica Radio 99.5 FM: Sandy Regional Assembly Issues Report (7/25/13)
The Epoch Times: Sandy Regional Assembly Analyzes Bloomberg’s SIRR Report (7/23/13)
Colorlines: ‘Environmental Justice’ Soldiers On Without a King, Queen—or Major Dollars (4/23/13)
News 12 Long Island: Sandy Regional Assembly recommends grassroots Recovery Agenda (4/3/13)
The New York World: Rebuilding from the ground up (4/2/13)
City Limits: A Grassroots Plan for Surviving Superstorms (4/1/13)
Gotham Gazette: Today’s Report: ‘Strategies for community-based resiliency in New York and New Jersey’ (4/1/13)