Newark, New Jersey Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impact Ordinance
The Newark Municipal Council passed the Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts Ordinance to address long standing health disparities among Newark’s poorest communities. While the ordinance is not specifically about climate change, it does provide a mechanism to address cumulative environmental impacts that lead to the disproportionate climate risks on low-income residents and people of color. This ordinance requires industrial and commercial development proposals to include information about cumulative environmental impacts that will allow decisionmakers and the public to make an informed decision if the development meets the city’s sustainability goals. The ordinance was drafted and proposed by the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance and allied groups.
As the first of its kind in the nation, the ordinance acknowledges and seeks to address the environmental justice issues confronting Newark residents, which have resulted in severe rates of asthma and cancer risk. Through this Ordinance, the City of Newark seeks to:
- Protect the health of all residents, regardless of race, culture or income, from exposure to pollution linked to adverse health effects, including the cumulative impacts that may be worsened as an unintended by-product of new development or redevelopment, and to ensure the enforcement of laws, regulations, and policies in a manner consistent with the principles of Environmental Justice.
- Take appropriate action to avoid, minimize and mitigate pollution from all sources within Newark's jurisdiction through partnerships, innovation, and enforcement.
- Encourage proposals for development or redevelopment that contribute positively to Newark’s environmental, economic, and social health or, at minimum, that do not contribute net new pollution to the environment or adversely impact public health.
- To create a better basis of information for decision-making with regard to public health and the environment with regard to new project proposals
- Promote meaningful public participation and transparent decision-making by identifying risks to public health and the environment, and by providing an opportunity to select alternatives and/or mitigation measures that remedy, avoid or minimize such risks.
The Ordinance requires development and redevelopment applicants to provide additional documentation, including an Environmental Review Checklist that references a Natural Resources Index identifying areas that can be considered disproportionately burdened with existing pollution.
Publication Date: July 7, 2016
- City of Newark, New Jersey
- Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit > Natural Resilience & Green Space Access > Regulatory Tools for Natural Resilience