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For Release: Monday, May 2, 2022

New York State Announces Public Hearings on Draft Disadvantaged Communities Criteria

Criteria to Guide Equitable Implementation of State's Ambitious Climate Law

May and June In-Person and Virtual Hearings to Provide Public Opportunities to Share Input on Draft Criteria

Comments Accepted Until July 7, 2022

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), will hold 11 public hearings across the state to receive public input on draft disadvantaged communities criteria and advance the finalization of criteria to help guide the implementation of the State's nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

New York's Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG), which consists of representatives from environmental justice groups from across the State and representatives of several State agencies, voted in December to release the draft criteria for identifying disadvantaged communities for public review. The Draft Disadvantaged Communities Criteria Public Comment Period commenced in March with a 120-day public comment period that ends July 7, 2022.

The criteria are based on geographic, public health, environmental hazard, and socioeconomic factors, and once approved, will be used to help meet the directives of the Climate Act related to reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to inform regulatory impact statements and the State's clean energy and energy efficiency investments.

Public Hearing Schedule

Event Location Date
Long Island   WebEx Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at 6 p.m. 
NYC #1   WebEx Wednesday, May 25, 2022, at 12 p.m. 
Mid-Hudson Valley  Beulah Baptist Church  
92 Catharine St. 
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 
Thursday, May 26, 2022, at 6 p.m.  
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier   WebEx Thursday, June 2, 2022, at 6 p.m. 
Lower Hudson Valley Grace Baptist Church
52 S. 6th Ave., Mt. Vernon, NY 10550
Friday, June 10, 2022, at 6 p.m.
NYC #2  DEC Region 2 Office
47-40 21st St., 8th Floor
Long Island City, NY 11101
Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at 6 p.m. 
Central NY/Mohawk Valley   WebEx Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at 6 p.m. 
North Country/Capital Region   WebEx Tuesday, June 21, 2022, at 12 p.m.
Western NY #1  PUSH Buffalo, School 77
29 Plymouth Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14213 
Thursday, June 23, 2022, at 6 p.m.  
Hudson Valley Virtual   WebEx Wednesday, June 29, 2022, at 12 p.m. 
Western NY #2   WebEx Thursday, June 30, 2022, at 12 p.m.

All persons, organizations, corporations, and government entities are encouraged to attend the public hearings and submit oral or written comments. Each participant will be given two minutes to provide public comment. Lengthy statements should be submitted in writing and summarized for oral presentation. PowerPoint presentations are not allowed, but individuals may provide written supporting documents or visuals.

If in-person hearings cannot be held due to changing COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, hearings will shift to virtual at the same date and time. Pre-registration for virtual hearings is strongly encouraged but not required.

Priority in speaking will be given to those who pre-register based on their place of residence for the regional hearings. Individuals can pre-register using the WebEx link for the meeting. All hearings will be professionally recorded and transcribed as part of the official record and posted on the Climate Act website.

Members of the public who want to provide oral comments must attend either in-person or join a virtual hearing. Equal weight will be given to oral and written statements.

The virtual public hearings will include live closed captioning. American sign language and language interpretive services shall be made available upon written request at no charge. Requests for interpretation must be received at least 10 days before the hearing date. Requests for interpretation should be directed by mail to NYSDEC, Office of Communication Services, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-4500), by telephone (518-402-8044), or by email (

Written comments can be submitted through July 7, 2022, via the online public comment form, Draft Disadvantaged Communities Criteria Public Comment Period, via email to, or via U.S. Mail to Attention: Draft DAC Comments, NYS DEC, Attn. Office of Environmental Justice, 625 Broadway, 14th Floor, Albany NY 12233.

For more information about the Climate Justice Working Group, visit the Climate Act website.

New York State's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandate of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy-wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.

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