New Jersey Environmental Justice Law
|Policy Jurisdiction||State — New Jersey|
|Tags||Air Quality, JEDI, Sustainable Building, Waste Equity|
On September 18, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Environmental Justice Law which requires the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to evaluate the environmental and public health impacts of certain facilities on overburdened communities when reviewing certain permit applications. Thanks to the tireless work of New Jersey’s environmental justice advocates, New Jersey is the first state in the nation to require mandatory permit denials if an environmental justice analysis determines a new facility will have a disproportionately negative impact on overburdened communities.
The law defines an overburdened community as any census block group, as determined in accordance with the most recent United States Census, in which:
- at least 35 percent of the households qualify as low-income households (at or below twice the poverty threshold as determined by the United States Census Bureau);
- at least 40 percent of the residents identify as minority or as members of a State recognized tribal community; or,
- at least 40 percent of the households have limited English proficiency (without an adult that speaks English “very well” according to the United States Census Bureau).
There are approximately 348 municipalities with populations totaling approximately 4,687,381 that have overburdened communities within their municipalities.
The law requires the Department of Environmental Protection to evaluate the environmental and public health impacts of the following facilities on overburdened communities when reviewing specific types of permit applications:
- Major sources of air pollution (i.e., gas fired power plants and cogeneration facilities);
- Resource recovery facilities or incinerators; sludge processing facilities;
- Sewage treatment plants with a capacity of more than 50 million gallons per day;
- Transfer stations or solid waste facilities;
- Recycling facilities that receive at least 100 tons of recyclable material per day;
- Scrap metal facilities;
- Landfills; or
- Medical waste incinerators, except those attendant to hospitals and universities.
Summary courtesy of: https://www.nj.gov/dep/ej/policy.html#ejlaw
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