Environmental Justice is the concept that every person is entitled to equal environmental protection under the law: ECO-EQUITY—which includes the right to be free from ecological destruction and the assurance that environmental burdens are fairly distributed, as well as providing equal access to environmental goods. Environmental Justice refers to the need to prevent the disproportionate impacts of pollution that are all too often borne by communities of color and residents of economically disadvantaged areas. For example, power plants and industrial facilities are frequently sited in poor communities, or traffic is routed through them.
Clearwater partners with grassroots community leaders along the Hudson Valley corridor to identify environmental inequities and empowers underserved communities to take effective action. In collaboration with community partners, Clearwater has implemented a Climate Justice Initiative in four Hudson Valley cities of Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Beacon, and Peekskill, each of which have waterfronts vulnerable to sea-level rise along their shorelines, to assess potential environmental, economic, public health, and safety impacts of climate change on communities of color and low income.
Clearwater, in partnership with Citizens for Equal Environmental Protection of the Hudson Valley (CEEP), a community organization dedicated to securing equal environmental protection for all residents in the Lower Hudson River Valley, has worked to assess environmental and health impacts in the community of Peekskill as part of a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) grant.
Along with the Peekskill Environmental Justice Council, Clearwater worked to identify and research some of the prominent sources of pollution in the City of Peekskill, as well as key environmental assets, which need to be protected and equitably accessed.
Over the course of two years, CEEP and Clearwater worked with the Peekskill Environmental Justice Council to review existing health data, and assess any disproportionate impacts on communities of color, ethnicity or low-income populations.
An updated version of Clearwater’s 1993 Angler Survey was administered to determine if people are consuming fish from the Hudson River to understand their reasons for fishing and to determine raise awareness of health advisories for fish caught in this section of the Hudson River.
In 2010, the Peekskill Environmental Justice Council completed the Peekskill Community-Based Environmental Justice Inventory (CBEJI) and Angler Survey. Click here to view the report.
Click on the links below to read articles about Clearwater’s Environmental Justice efforts:
Final Report: Poughkeepsie Environmental Justice and Climate Justice Assessment
Final Report: Peekskill Community Based Climate Justice Assessment
Clearwater Navigator, Fall 2010/Winter 2011, page 13
“Advancing Environmental Justice and Empowering Youth”
Clearwater Navigator, Spring 2009, page 18
“Environmental Justice in the Hudson Valley”
Clearwater Navigator, Winter 2008, page 16, 17