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Dear Edward,

This past year brought with it all sorts of challenges, but our team has not missed a beat! As 2023 comes to an end, we'd like to reflect on some important wins for our communities. Of course, there’s a lot of hard work ahead, and so we hope you’ll consider a year-end donation to support NYC-EJA for the year ahead.

Wishing you all good health and happiness this holiday season and throughout the new year. Here's to an exciting and productive 2024 ahead!

NYC-EJA Welcomes New Organizational Members

This year NYC-EJA welcomed two new members to our alliance, Staten Island Urban Center and The Brotherhood Sister Sol. With 13 community-based organizational members, NYC-EJA is now a 5-Borough coalition again for the first time since the 90’s!

Staten Island Urban Center is a grassroots "community development through community involvement" organization, lifting the voices of Staten Island's most marginalized and vulnerable communities experiencing social, environmental and criminal injustices. Their community-centered work is grounded in the pursuit of cultural equity, thrivability, self-determination and independence. They help community members of all ages develop as activists, engaging them in community-driven solutions, local organizing, youth leadership development and art-making grounded in social justice.

The Brotherhood Sister Sol (Bro Sis) is a social justice youth development organization in Harlem. For more than 25 years, The Brotherhood Sister Sol has been at the forefront of social justice-educating, organizing, and training to challenge inequality and create opportunity for all. With a focus on Black and Latinx youth, Bro Sis is where young people claim the power of their history, identity, and community to build the future they want to see.

NYC-EJA & CUNY's NYC Climate Justice Hub

Official Launch

In September, NYC-EJA and the City University of New York (CUNY) held a launch event to announce the NYC Climate Justice Hub. Funded through the Waverley Street Foundation, the Hub is a two-year partnership connecting us and six member organizations - Brooklyn Movement CenterEl Puente, GOLESWe Stay/Nos QuedamosThe Point CDC and UPROSE - and their communities to CUNY students, faculty, administration, centers, departments and other resources to advance climate solutions proposed by members' respective frontline communities. NYS Attorney General Letitia James headlined the press conference and was joined by NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, We Stay/Nos Quedamos Executive Director Jessica Clemente, GOLES Executive Director Damaris Reyes, El Puente Executive Director Marco Carrión and Waverley Street Foundation Strategy Director Alexandria McBride. At the end of the press conference, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams issued citations to CUNY, NYC-EJA and NYC-EJA Executive Director Eddie Bautista to acknowledge the accomplishments of each recipient. Watch a recording of the launch here. Passcode: At%77hab

NYS Climate Justice Working Group Finalizes Disadvantaged Communities Criteria

In March, NYS realized another milestone under our landmark state climate law the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act (CLCPA), when NYS’s Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG) finally voted on NYS’s first ever Disadvantaged Communities (DAC) criteria. NYC-EJA Executive Director Eddie Bautista and UPROSE Executive Director Elizabeth Yeampierre both serve on the CJWG.

After over 2 years, 11+ public hearings and 3000+ comments, the CJWG approved the most progressive framework in the country to steer billions of dollars to the state's most "disadvantaged communities" (i.e., the communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change). Based on 45 indicators capturing racial, class, public health, disparate environmental burdens and climate vulnerabilities indicia, these transformational criteria are designed to steer 35-40% of the state’s clean energy funding to these DAC communities. Our quest for a Just Transition is only beginning – find the list of disadvantaged communities, along with preliminary maps on the NYS Climate Act website.

New York State Budget Wins

After a month-long delay and efforts to undermine NYS's landmark Climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), the 2023 New York State budget finally passed in May and included some big wins for NY’s climate and environmental justice movement! We made progress in the budget with the partial inclusion of key components of the Build Public Renewables Act and the All-Electric Buildings Act, the nation’s first statewide gas ban in new buildings. We also saw the creation of a dedicated Climate Action Fund, a first-of-its-kind climate fund to help kickstart NY’s transition to clean energy.

Climate Jobs and Justice Campaign Launch

In November, we gathered in Williamsburg alongside our NY Renews allies, to launch our campaign for the People’s Climate Justice Budget, and Climate, Jobs, and Justice Package for New York State. Several NYC-EJA member organizations were present with youth and speakers from some including El Puente, UPROSE, The Point CDC, and Nos Quedamos. Learn more about the NY Renews legislative package here, and budget proposal here.

Clean Deliveries Act Campaign Launch

In November, alongside ElectrifyNY coalition members, NYC-EJA helped launch the Clean Deliveries Act Campaign. The campaign seeks to pass the Clean Deliveries Act (S.2127A/A.1718), which would address the impacts of e-commerce mega-warehouses by establishing an indirect source rule for transportation, i.e., attributing emissions from delivery vehicles to these warehouses. These mega-warehouses are disproportionately situated near environmental justice communities that experience the most harm from vehicle emissions in and out of these facilities. If adopted, NY State would be the first state to require a review of emissions from all e-commerce warehouses exceeding 50,000 sqft and require these warehouse operators to implement an air emissions reduction and mitigation plan. Read the press release here and click here for the full bill explainer. 

Green Healthy Schools Campaign Launch

In December, alongside students, teachers, parents, labor unions, and elected officials, NYC-EJA helped launch the Climate Works for All coalition's Green Healthy Schools Campaign. On the heels of Mayor Adam’s drastic cuts to public schools, the coalition is calling for a sustainable alternative to his austerity budget. The campaign calls on the City to electrify and upgrade 500 public schools by 2030, prioritizing environmental justice communities and commit to making NYC a zero emissions school district by 2040. NYC public schools are among the worst climate polluters and largest emitters of GHGs in the city, relying on dirty fossil fuels to power and heat classrooms. Creating Green Healthy Schools will help the City meet the mandates of Local Law 97, create green union jobs, and give students, teachers, and school staff the safe and healthy workplaces they deserve.

Report Releases and Blog Post

After over two years of work, NYC-EJA in partnership with research partners Resources for the Future and a variety of academic teams, has released a new report - Prioritizing Justice in New York State Climate Policy: Cleaner Air for Disadvantaged Communities? The report compares policies favored by the NYS Climate Action Council to those championed by environmental justice advocates, with the report’s modeling concluding that the more ambitious, targeted goals offered by the EJ group's recommendations led to greater emissions reductions. This indicates that bolder action is needed to effectively reach the goals outlined in the CLCPA. Check out RFF’s podcast episode, ft. our Research Analyst Victoria Sanders, here.

In November, the ElectrifyNY coalition released a report titled “Wake Up and Smell the Fumes.” The report found that as many as one in four of the city's almost 10,000 diesel and gas school buses routinely idle their engines outside school buildings - despite laws discouraging this act. The report also highlights negative health and environmental impacts of engine idling on children, workers, and the public in environmental justice communities such as the East Bronx and Red Hook, Brooklyn, that have large school bus depots. The complete report is available in English and Spanish.

As part of the Just Nature NYC partnership, our teams at NYC-EJA and the NY Cities Program of The Nature Conservancy mapped local vegetation density across NYC to better understand the cooling benefits of plants, the availability of vegetation in the most heat-vulnerable communities and associated inequities. Read this analysis and find interactive maps on our latest blog post!

Continuing Advocacy in USACE Flood Plan

Over this year, we have worked consistently on the US Army Corps of Engineers NY-NJ Harbor and Tributaries Study process and will continue to do so in 2024. Some of our accomplishments include submitted comprehensive public comments, gaining written support from non-Federal Sponsor NYS DEC and over a dozen congress members, visiting the Pentagon and Capitol Hill to advocate for environmental justice communities and our many recommendations and goals for our region within this planning process, and more. In partnership with many other advocates and local groups, we have been able to build power and push the USACE regional team to adjust their plans to reflect what the communities and local experts want to see. While there is more work to do, this year has been successful in moving the needle on a process that at previous points felt written in stone.

Extreme Heat Advocacy

We at NYC-EJA try to take a comprehensive approach to address the complex issue of extreme heat and its disproportionate impacts. Here are some of our efforts from this past year:

In July, NYC-EJA co-hosted a community workshop with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) as part of the State’s Extreme Heat Action Plan (EHAP) process. The event was one of many regional workshops across the State to gather community input on current conditions, community experiences as well as community solutions to the effects of extreme heat across NYC. Community groups from all boroughs were present including NYC-EJA members Brotherhood Sister Sol, El Puente, THE POINT CDC, and UPROSE.

On October 5th, City Council voted and unanimously approved Int. 1065, legislation requiring the City to create and monitor an urban forest plan to achieve a citywide goal of 30% canopy cover! NYC-EJA is a proud member of the Forest For All NYC coalition, which led the effort to see this legislation passed.

In October, NYC-EJA sent a letter to Governor Hochul, signed by over 50 organizations from across the State, demanding dedicated funding in the upcoming Executive Budget for the State's Extreme Heat Action Plan (EHAP) to implement the solutions that frontline community organizations have uplifted as the highest priorities to address the impacts of extreme heat. You can read the letter with all our demands here.

Renewable Ravenswood Events

In June, the NYC-EJA team participated in a community fair hosted by Rise Light & Power and Attentive Energy at the Jacob A Riis Neighborhood Settlement in Queensbridge Houses. The event was an opportunity for the community to learn more about the plan to turn the Ravenswood Generating Station, the largest power plant in NYC, into a clean energy hub. This project will bring several benefits to western Queens and NYC overall, including air quality and public health improvements, investments in community programs and workforce development opportunities like clean energy training programs.

In September, NYC-EJA co-sponsored the Climate Justice & Energy Democracy event with NAACP-NYCHA, and Rise Light & Power on Roosevelt Island to discuss if the energy sector is up to the task of disrupting and stopping enduring patterns of inequity and profound injustices in our City and State, and operationalizing a Just Transition. The keynote was given by NYC-EJA Executive Director Eddie Bautista and panels moderated by our Energy Planner Daniel Chu and Policy Organizer Celeste Perez.

City Council Proclamations for Climate Week

On September 19th, City Councilmember Sandy Nurse hosted a Climate Week event at City Hall to celebrate the work of the grassroots and labor climate justice movement. Among other coalitions that were recognized, NY Renews and the Transform Don't Trash coalition were recognized with City Council proclamations. Watch a clip of NYC-EJA's Executive Director Eddie Bautista's remarks here.

NYS Cap-Trade-and-Invest

NY Renews Webinar & EJ Roundtable

In March, NY Renews kicked off a webinar series with the Cap and Invest Webinar co-hosted with NYC-EJA. Governor Hochul’s recent executive budget proposal includes a cap-trade-and-invest model to fund climate programs. As seen in other states, such as California, market-based solutions have been shown to only widen the disparity gap and increase harm potential for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and working communities. In this webinar, panelists discussed the critical lessons learned from California’s cap and trade program and the political opportunities and challenges here in New York.

In August, NYSERDA and DEC held an Equity and Climate Justice Roundtable to gather input from stakeholders to inform the development of NY State's Cap (Trade) and Invest (CT&I) program. The public forum consisted of a presentation by State agency staff, followed by responses from panelists from Environmental Justice and Climate Justice organizations on proposed program elements. Amongst the panelists was NYC-EJA's Executive Director, Eddie Bautista, also a member of the Climate Justice Working Group, who emphasized that a just cap-and-invest program will refrain from the use of trading, offsets, and unlimited banking. Watch the recording here.

NYC-EJA separately raised concerns by co-authoring an op-ed on the State's proposed CT&I program with Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas, EJ chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus. The State cannot let Cap (Trade) and Invest continue to be a distraction from the direct emission reductions and climate investments our communities need.

Be sure to check for more exciting news from NYC-EJA about our ongoing work, on our website and in future newsletters! And if you like what you read, please consider making a tax-exempt donation to support our work.



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