UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – On Thursday, December 2nd, the Climate Justice Working Group hosted a meeting to discuss criteria for identifying disadvantaged communities for the purposes of co-pollutant reductions. Utica, Rome, and Herkimer region are on the discussion list. Climate change does not affect all New Yorkers equally.

New York’s Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG), comprised of representatives from Environmental Justice groups across the State, was formed to identify disadvantaged communities (DACs) who are often overlooked in climate policy initiatives and to ensure they directly benefit from the State’s transition to cleaner, greener sources of energy and reduced pollution.

On its latest disadvantaged communities map, Utica City, Rome City, and Herkimer Village are all categorized as draft disadvantageous communities. According to the census data, the environmental burden in Utica City is higher than 23% of Census Tracts statewide communities, and population vulnerability is higher than 90% of Census Tracts statewide communities

Today, the meeting discussed more than 170 factors that were put into consideration when analyzing which area is categorized as a disadvantageous community.

The Climate Act requires the state to invest or direct resources in a manner designed to ensure that disadvantaged communities receive at least 35 percent, with the goal of 40 percent, of overall benefits of spending on clean energy and energy efficiency programs as well as projects or investments in the areas of housing, workforce development, pollution reduction, low-income energy assistance, energy, transportation, and economic development. The next meeting will be held in later December for further discussion.