New York State Establishes A Permanent Environmental Justice Advisory Board

Low-Income Communities and Communities of Color, Disproportionately Impacted by Environmental Issues, Now Have a Permanent Voice in Albany


June 21, 2019
Contact: Chris Dobens, 212-961-1000 ext. 320,


ALBANY, NY — WE ACT for Environmental Justice is celebrating the passage of a bill establishing a permanent Environmental Justice Advisory Board to operate under the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The bill (S. 2385) sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) passed the Senate by a 61-0 vote and the Assembly bill (A. 1564) sponsored by Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) passed with an 83-20 vote yesterday, making the temporary Advisory Board a permanent body.

The Environmental Justice Advisory Board will work with the Governor’s office and the state agencies to provide guidance and advance environmental justice throughout the state. It will be comprised of 17 members appointed as follows: seven appointed by the Governor, four appointed the Senate Majority Leader, four appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, one by the Minority Leader of the Senate, and one by the Minority Leader of the Assembly. These appointments last four years. Once Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signs the bill, it will become law on January 1, 2020 and once again catapult New York to the forefront of environmental justice.

“This is a huge win for the environmental justice movement in New York State,” said Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director and Director of Policy Initiatives at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “It ensures that low-income communities and communities of color, which have historically been disproportionately impacted by pollution and other environmental issues, will now have a permanent voice in Albany to ensure that these communities do not continue to be dumping grounds for toxic chemicals, air pollution, and other waste.”

As one of the leading voices in the environmental justice movement, WE ACT had been working with a number of elected officials to ensure that the temporary Advisory Board became a permanent one.

“We would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership on this and his continuing support of environmental justice,” added Corbin-Mark. “We would also like to thank New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and the Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl E. Heastie (D-Bronx) as well as the two sponsors of the bill, New York State Senator Kevin S. Parker of the 31st District and New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes of the 141st District, whose tireless years of leadership on this issue ensured its success.”

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WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Visit us at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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