Charter Revision, Fair Share & 197-a Reform
August, 2010 - Vol 1, Issue 2
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In This Issue - Charter Revision, Fair Share & 197-a reform; Brownfields victory; Support NYC-EJA Fundraising Campaign

Since the 2010 Charter Revision Commission was first empaneled, NYC-EJA's members and allies have urged the Commission to allow New Yorkers to vote for fair share and 197-a reform on this November's ballot. For communities of color disproportionately burdened with polluting facilities, these long-awaited reforms could increase transparency and accountability in the siting of City facilities.

Introduced during the 1989 Charter Revision, fair share was intended to encourage a fairer distribution of City facilities by requiring each City agency to: a) analyze a community district's share of City facilities before siting, expanding, closing or reducing a facility; b) provide annual notice of their facility plans to local Community Boards before final decisions were made; and c) allow Community Boards to hold hearings prior to final facility decisions by agencies. Section 197-a was also expanded in 1989, allowing community boards to develop master land use plans for their districts.

Given their advisory nature, these provisions were not designed to tie an agency's hands; rather, they were intended to help agencies plan better, while increasing agency transparency in decision-making and allowing impacted communities a voice in the process. However, loopholes in these two Charter provisions undermined their promise of equity and environmental relief. As a result, polluting facilities have continued to be clustered in a handful of communities - neighborhoods with significant negative public health disparities.

NYC-EJA has proposed a set of reforms for fair share and 197-a supported by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Congressman Jose Serrano, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, the NY City Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, Citizens Union, and resolutions from Manhattan Community Board 3, and Brooklyn Community Boards 1 and 7 - community boards with combined total populations of over 400,000 New Yorkers.

Contact the Charter Revision Commission at 212-442-1500 or [email protected] - tell them to allow NY'ers to vote for fair share and 197-a reform this year, and:

Mandate that City Facilities sitings, expansions and reductions be properly identified in the Annual Statement of Needs.

Include allpolluting/infrastructure facilities in the Atlas of Properties, not just City-owned properties.

Include true indicators of burdens (i.e., relevant public health data, asthma rates, air quality, etc) in Fair Share review.

Mandate public review of formally submitted 197-a plans before approving subsequent rezoning and other land use applications proposed for a community board with a 197-a plan.

If you have any questions, please contact NYC-EJA Executive Director Eddie Bautista at [email protected]

Fighting for cleaner and just communities - one block at a time,
The NYC Environmental Justice Alliance
Brownfield Victory

Brownfield MOA
On August 5th, Mayor Bloomberg and NYS DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis signed an historic Memo of Agreement, launching the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program, the first municipally-run brownfield clean-up program in the nation. The Agreement allows NYC to direct more high-quality brownfield cleanups, including sites not eligible for the state program, while winding down the current practice of "self-directed clean-ups" by developers with no government oversight. This landmark agreement concludes a nearly-decade long campaign by NYC-EJA to establish local mechanisms - and accountability - for brownfield clean-ups in NYC. One of the priority areas for the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program will be for communities participating in NYS's Brownfield Opportunity Area program.

"Particularly during these difficult economic times, a New York City brownfield cleanup program that prioritizes community-led proposals for brownfield redevelopment is essential to revitalizing the neighborhoods that have for too long been burdened with a disproportionate number of brownfield sites and the decay and disinvestment associated with those sites," said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.
NYC-EJA Fundraising Campaign
As NYC-EJA approaches its 20th anniversary, we ask your help to sustain our campaigns for environmental justice. Please help NYC-EJA reach its fundraising goal of $5000 by September 30th

Founded in 1991, NYC-EJA, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, is NYC's only federation of community-based organizations fighting for environmental justice. From equitable energy policies to solid waste to brownfield redevelopment, NYC-EJA and its members have enjoyed an unparalleled string of victories that have begun reversing decades of environmental burdens and inequities for our most vulnerable communities. (Please visit, to learn more about our current campaigns and past accomplishments.)

But we need your help to continue our successes. Your tax deductible online contribution at will support NYC-EJA's ongoing campaigns, including new challenges posed by climate change. You can also mail a check payable to: New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, 166A 22nd Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11232.

Become an EJ Friend - $50.00
Become an EJ Ally - $100.00
Become an EJ Champion - $200.00 (our 200x200 campaign!)

Hasta la proxima,
Eddie Bautista
Executive Director