How Will CLCPA Requirements Pertaining to Disadvantaged Communities Impact Solid Waste Management Facilities?

by | Apr 16, 2024

New York State passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, Chapter 106 of the Laws of 2019 (CLCPA or Climate Act). This law is intended to significantly reduce the impact of New York State on climate change and to ensure these changes do not negatively impact disadvantaged communities (DACs). Below is the important text of the DAC portion of the CLCPA with regard to solid waste management facilities:

CLCPA – Chapter 7

§ 7. Climate change actions by state agencies.

  1. In considering and issuing permits, licenses, and other administrative approvals and decisions, including but not limited to the execution of grants, loans, and contracts, pursuant to Article 75 of the environmental conservation law, all state agencies, offices, authorities, and divisions shall not disproportionately burden disadvantaged communities as identified pursuant to subdivision 5 of section 75-0101 of the environmental conservation law. All state agencies, offices, authorities, and divisions shall also prioritize reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and co-pollutants in disadvantaged communities as identified pursuant to such subdivision 5 of section 75-0101 of the environmental conservation law.


What Is a Disadvantaged Community Under CLCPA § 7(3)?

The CLCPA includes the requirement for:

  1. The Climate Justice Working Group to identify DACs based on geographic, public health, environmental hazard, and socioeconomic criteria, including:
    • Areas burdened by cumulative environmental pollution and other hazards;
    • Areas with concentrations of people that are of low income, high unemployment, high rent burden, low levels of home ownership, low levels of educational attainment, or members of groups that have historically experienced discrimination based on race or ethnicity; and
    • Areas vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, storm surges, and urban heat island effects.
  2. Requirements to not disproportionately burden DACs [§ 75-0109 and § 75-0109(4)].
  3. Prioritize reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and co-pollutants in DACs [CLCPA § 7(3)].

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), after guidance and direction from the Climate Justice Working Group, will notify an applicant for a solid waste management facility application or modification if that project is within or near a DAC and a CLCPA § 7(3) analysis is required. The fact that this demonstration is required does not automatically mean the proposal is dead. Rather, the permit application must include, for NYSDEC approval, a demonstration that the project will not result in any additional disproportional impact on DACs.

Even though there are currently no regulations or final policies on how this is done or what is necessary for this demonstration, the most basic method for meeting this requirement is to show, by using information from the CLCPA analysis and report, that the GHG and co-pollutant emissions from the proposed facility will not increase emissions of those chemicals into DACs. Specifically, the CLCPA report and analysis will detail the GHG and individual co-pollutant emissions. These figures will be compared to the previous impacts to the surrounding communities. The results of these analyses will form the basis for the required disadvantaged communities report.

Walden staff have spent significant resources researching these legal, regulatory, and technical issues, and have developed all of the necessary calculations for all fuel types and types of equipment to complete this required analysis. Contact Walden at 516-701-1681 to get started with your CLCPA analysis and disadvantaged communities report today. Our sustainability and solid waste experts are prepared to walk you through all regulations pertaining to your solid waste management facility.

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Walden’s experienced consultants can help you determine if a CLCPA analysis is required for your solid waste management facility. Contact us at 516-701-1681 today.