Environmental Justice Strategic Partnerships
As part of its ongoing efforts to help improve the environment and quality of life of Environmental Justice communities across New York State, the Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) enters into strategic partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders, both within and outside of the Department. In particular, DEC's Division of Law Enforcement (DLE), with its uniformed Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs), has proven to be an invaluable partner in developing innovative programs and initiatives to assist New York State's Environmental Justice Communities.
Operation ECO-Quality is a strategic partnership between DLE, OEJ, and the Department's Regional Offices that focuses on preventing violations of New York State's Environmental Conservation Law that may impact the environmental health and quality of life in Environmental Justice (EJ) communities. With a particular focus on small and mid-sized regulated facilities, Operation ECO-Quality takes a community-centered approach to outreach and enforcement that makes use of public health data and community input to inform DEC's efforts. When implementing an Operation ECO-Quality effort in a community, DEC's Environmental Conservation Officers, Office of Environmental Justice and regional staff work to ensure greater compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations through a combination of enhanced outreach, consultation and community policing activities.
Operation ECO-Quality was launched as a multiregion program across the State in July 2012. This innovative environmental community policing model was piloted in DEC Region 3's Westchester County in 2011. The Operation ECO-Quality Pilot Program's Final Report can be viewed or downloaded from the link in the right-hand column of this page.
Stop Smoking Trucks Campaign
In the Fall of 2007, OEJ and DLE piloted an innovative law enforcement program in East Harlem that focused on reducing the negative impacts of truck emissions on areas of New York City that suffered from high asthma hospitalization rates. Following the success of this pilot, DEC coordinated with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) to launch the Stop Smoking Trucks and Idling Vehicles Program in November 2008. During this citywide joint enforcement effort, DEC's ECOs conducted diesel truck pullover operations in these overburdened communities while NYCDEP patrolled the area for idling vehicles. On Earth Day 2009, the Stop Smoking Trucks Campaign was expanded to a statewide effort. Stop Smoking Truck pullover operations continue to be done in Environmental Justice Communities across the state.
I-Watch for Cleaner Air Toolkit
In response to community concerns about the impacts of idling vehicles on health and quality-of-life, OEJ developed the I-Watch for Cleaner Air Toolkit. This toolkit provides guidance, information, and specific tools designed to raise awareness of idling issues and help grassroots groups identify and document "idling hotspots" in their community. An idling hotspot is any location where one or more vehicles will regularly sit idling their engine in violation of State or City Law. By documenting such patterns of idling, communities can work more effectively with law enforcement and regulatory agencies, businesses, and property owners to address the problem.