Volume 7, Issue 2

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February 29 comes once every four years, and we at the New York  City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) are extremely grateful for the extra day to do this important work. 

In this issue of our newsletter, you'll learn more about Con Ed's program to meet the energy needs of Brooklyn and Queens, new developments in our ongoing partnership to increase community health and resiliency in Sunset Park, and a lecture series we're co-sponsoring on the outcomes of COP 21. Stay tuned!
Con Ed Community Meeting 

BQDM Community Meeting, 2/23/16
Con Edison presented it's Brooklyn Queens Demand Management (BQDM) program to a packed house in Brownsville, where they fielded questions from the audience about solar energy opportunities, economic benefits of the program for the neighborhood such as local hiring, and the program's progress. NYC-EJA, Brooklyn Movement Center, and El Puente, who all attended the meeting, are members of the Brooklyn Alliance for Sustainable Energy (BASE).  NYC-EJA launched  BASE  to advocate for cleaner sources of energy, more efficient and resilient energy infrastructure, and local economic development opportunities. 

Con Ed Briefing on 2/24/16

The goal of the BQDM program is to be able to meet the growing demand for electricity in over a dozen neighborhoods in north central and eastern Brooklyn and southwestern Queens.  BASE works with Con Edison to ensure the BQDM program is a transparent and inclusive process, minimizing environmental justice burdens and ensuring that EJ communities can benefit from the program in the long term. 

Click here to see NYC-EJA's fact sheet on BQDM.
Juan Camilo presents at DOHMH Hurricane Sandy Mini Conference. Photo by Ryan Chavez.
GRASP Presentations

What were the possible health consequences recovery workers faced in cleaning up muck and debris after Superstorm Sandy? What can we do to reduce these risks? These are the community concerns which drove our community-based participatory research project in Sunset Park.

As part of NYC-EJA's Waterfront Justice Project, our project is taking place through a partnership called Grassroots Research to Action in Sunset Park, or GRASP. GRASP is a partnership between NYC-EJA, our member organization UPROSE, the RAND Corporation, and the Lifeline Group. 

We are currently wrapping up the research from phase 1 of our project, which a ssessed the public health risks faced by recovery workers after Hurricane Sandy and i dentified the most effective practices to reduce the risks faced by them.

This month, we disseminated our findings to the Department of City Planning (DCP) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).  The DOHMH organized a Mini Conference on Hurricane Sandy for researchers looking at the storm's health impacts, where NYC-EJA and UPROSE presented our findings on the risks from fugitive chemicals.  In our presentation to DCP, we, along with our members UPROSE and THE POINT, presented our work on the Waterfront Justice Project to inform DCP's Resilient Industry study.  DCP is undertaking the  Resilient Industry  study to assess the vulnerability of industrial areas to flooding and identify strategies to help businesses, employees, and nearby communities become more resilient to future storms and floods. 

To view our presentation for DCP's Resilient Industry study, click here .
Partners from The Lifeline Group, the RAND Corporation, and UPROSE tour auto-shops in Sunset Park. Photo by Pamela Soto.
Kicking off BIRCH Initiative

Phase 2 of our research project in Sunset Park is gearing up! The BIRCH initiative, which stands for Businesses Innovations for Resilience and Community Health, aims to work with local businesses to increase the resilience and health of the Sunset Park community.  Working with our partners from GRASP,  we are diving deeper into one particular industry sector: auto repair and body shops. Auto repair shops are the most concentrated industry sector in Sunset Park, but small shops can often fall through regulatory  cracks. 

This is a community-based participatory research project, which will require deep engagement of local knowledge and need. Business Resilience Teams and auto shops will work together to implement mutually agreed upon solutions to chemical security and storage. Our first community stakeholder group meeting took place in UPROSE on 2/24/16, where our stakeholders brainstormed ways to increase the participation of the auto shops to ensure a successful project. 
Paris 2015 Lecture Series  at Pratt Manhattan Campus

" Environmental Justice on the Move" is next in a series of public discussions co-sponsored by the NYC-EJA on the outcomes of the Paris 2015 Climate Conference and the implications for grassroots organizations and frontline communities.

From the barrios of the global south to the streets of Paris, the climate justice movement's war cry against climate change rings out: "We are the roots that will weather the storm." Climate change will not be addressed without frontline communities leading the charge. Join environmental justice activists in learning about just transitions, NYRenews and how climate justice movement initiatives are redefining power while approaching the biggest challenge in history.

When:  Friday, March 4, 2016 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM (EST) 
Where:  Pratt Manhattan Campus - 144 West 14th Street. Second Floor, Room 213. 

Light refreshments will be served
Be sure to check for more exciting news from NYC-EJA on our  website and in future newsletters!
Eddie Bautista 
Executive Director 
The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance

NYC Environmental Justice Alliance | 166A 22nd Street, Brooklyn NY 11232 | www.nyc-eja.org