House Bill 422

152nd General Assembly (Present)

Bill Progress

House Natural Resources & Energy 5/16/24
Committee Hearing takes place within twelve legislative days.

Bill Details

Sen. Gay
Reps. Phillips, Wilson-Anton
This Act defines certain facilities which will require an applicant seeking a permit for a new facility, or expansion of an existing facility, or renewal of an existing permit, located in an overburdened community, as defined in the Act, to provide an environmental justice impact report. Facility includes the following commercial, municipal, or industrial businesses located in, or within, a ½ mile radius of an overburdened community: (1) manufacturers of animal food, meat, seafood, tobacco, manufactured homes, chemicals, cement, asphalt, ready-mix concrete, primary metal, nonmetallic mineral products, ammunition or transport equipment; (2) manufacturers of fossil or bio-based fuels, distillates, chemicals and pharmaceuticals; or industrial scale storage of such materials; (3) pulp, paper, paperboard and sawmills; (4) commercial rail, port or water freight docks; (5) landfills, transfer stations, resource recovery, scrap metal or recycle centers or compost operators; (6) warehouses, and distribution, trucking and logistic centers larger than 75,000 square feet; (7) industrial or municipal sewage treatment centers, animal waste management or processing operations and sludge processors; (8) large, concentrated animal feeding operations, as defined by the size threshold in the federal Clean Water Act, regardless of their discharge status; (9) energy generators, as defined in §1001 of Title 26; (10) medical waste incinerators (with the exception of those attendant to a hospital or university intended to process self-generated medical waste); and (11) commercial, municipal, or industrial projects or installations that are not listed in (1) through (10) that are similar in scale, and that currently contribute or upon permit approval would contribute to the cumulative pollution in an overburdened community, which are identified by the Department in conjunction with the Environmental Justice Board. For all permit applications, the environmental justice impact report would be required at least 60 days before a required community information session and public hearing. Under the Act an “overburdened community” is defined as any geographic locations that potentially experience harms and risks a determined by the Environmental Justice Board or any census tract, as delineated in the most recent U.S. Census, in which one or more of the following is greater than .75 standard percentage of the State average for any of the following: (1) 35% of the residents are below 185% of federal poverty level. (2) At least 25% or more identify as minority or member of a state or federally recognized tribal community or immigrant. (3) 25% or more have limited English proficiency as defined by U.S. Census Bureau. The Department would be required to create and post on its website a list of “overburdened communities” and update the list every 2 years. The Act establishes the Environmental Justice Board to review and make recommendations on the environmental justice impact reports, conduct community information sessions and public hearings, and other measures to help the Department fulfill the purpose of this chapter. The community information session and public hearing on the permit would be required to provide an opportunity for meaningful public participation by the overburdened community. Following the public hearing the Secretary would be required to consider the recommendation of the Environmental Justice Board and the testimony presented at the public hearing and an analysis of the environmental justice impact report. The Secretary could impose conditions to the permit that may be necessary to reduce the adverse impact to the public health or to the environment in the overburdened community. The Secretary would have the authority to deny a permit application in an overburdened community upon a finding that the cumulative impact imposed by the new or expanded facility would constitute an unreasonable risk to the health of the residents of the overburdened community or to the environment in that community. The Act requires the Department to establish rules and regulations to implement the Act, in consultation with the Environmental Justice Board, within 6 months after its enactment.
F/N (Incomplete)
Takes effect upon being signed into law

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