SECTION 1. Section 69G of chapter 164 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of “Department” the following definition:-
“Director of environmental justice”, the director within the executive office of energy and environmental affairs, appointed pursuant to section 1 of Executive Order 552.
SECTION 2. Said section 69G of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the definition of “Electric company” the following 2 definitions:-
“Environmental justice”, the right to be protected from environmental pollution, and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment. Environmental justice shall include the equal protection and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies and the equitable distribution of environmental benefits, and is based on the concept that all people have a right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthy environment regardless of race, income, national origin or English language proficiency.
“Environmental justice population”, a neighborhood: (i) whose annual median household income is equal to or less than 65 per cent of the median household income for the commonwealth; (ii) whose population is equal to or greater than 25 per cent minority or foreign born individuals, or individuals lacking English language proficiency according to federal census data; or (iii) otherwise identified as an environmental justice population by the executive office of energy and environmental affairs.
SECTION 3. Section 69J¼ of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the second paragraph the following 4 paragraphs:-
No applicant shall submit a petition to construct a generating facility without first submitting a preliminary statement regarding such generating facility. A preliminary statement shall contain, at a minimum, the following information:- (i) a description of the proposed generating facility and a list of its possible locations; (ii) potential environmental and public health
impacts resulting from the construction and operation of the proposed generating facility (iii) an analysis of how the proposed generating facility may impact environmental justice populations; (iv) a list of proposed studies or reports that the applicant plans to undertake or that have been previously published to evaluate potential environmental and public health impacts; (v) proposed measures for minimizing any environmental and public health effects; (vi) the contact information for at least 1 individual associated with and knowledgeable about the proposed generating facility; (vii) an identification list of all federal, state and local permits, approvals, certifications or other such authorizations necessary for the construction, operation and maintenance of the proposed generating facility; and (vii) any other relevant information that the board shall require.
The preliminary statement shall be submitted to the board, the director of environmental justice, any identifiable community groups with members living or working within 5 miles of a possible location for the proposed generating facility, the city council or board of selectman for each of the proposed locations, and the public library for each proposed location. If the proposed generating facility may be located within 5 miles of an environmental justice population, the applicant shall also provide copies of the preliminary statement in the primary language of such environmental justice population, where applicable. To facilitate the pre-petition and petition processes and enable residents to participate in decisions that affect their health and safety and the environment, the applicant and siting board shall provide opportunities for resident involvement. The primary goals of the resident participation process shall be to facilitate communication between the applicant and interested or affected persons. The process shall foster the active involvement of the interested or affected persons.
Each preliminary statement submitted pursuant to this section shall be accompanied by a fee equal to $1,000 per 10 megawatts of generating capacity. The board shall deposit the fee into a separate account, which the board shall maintain. The board may make expenditures from the account in order to defray costs associated with the preliminary statement and petition review process, as they may be incurred by local governments, the board, or other parties. Such costs may include, but shall not be limited to, expert witness fees, consultant fees, legal fees or other administrative costs.
The board shall hold at least 1 public hearing in each possible location wherein the proposed generating facility may be located, the goal of which shall be to allow the residents of each potential host community to participate in a decision that affects their health, safety and environment and to facilitate the active involvement of, and communication between, all interested and affected parties.
SECTION 4. Said section 69J¼ of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 40, the words “and (v)” and inserting in place thereof the following:- (v) a description of any environmental justice population within 10 miles of the proposed generating facility and the potential impacts on such populations; (vi) a cumulative impact analysis of air and water quality within 10 miles of the proposed generating facility, or such other radius as may be established by the board in regulation, which shall consider all available data on projected emissions of air pollutants, water pollutants and air toxins, currently existing industrial and commercial facilities, and any identifiable proposed industrial or commercial facility not yet constructed; (vii) a comparison between the demographic, economic, and physical characteristics of (a) communities within 10 miles of the proposed generating facility, and (b) the county as a whole within which the proposed generating facility may be located, which shall include data on racial and ethnic groups, income levels, open space availability, and public health considerations; (viii) an explanation of why the proposed generating facility is necessary to meet regional requirements for additional capacity; and (ix).
SECTION 5. The fifth paragraph of said section 69J¼ of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sentences:-
For every proposed generating facility that seeks to be located within 10 miles of a state-designated environmental justice population, the board shall perform a meaningful substantive analysis of the proposed facility and describe all environmental justice considerations. The board shall, within 1 year from the date of filing, approve a petition to construct a generating facility if the board determines that the petition meets the following requirements: (i) the proposed generating facility would not burden an environmental justice population located within a 10 mile radius; (ii) the description of the proposed generating facility and its environmental impacts are substantially accurate and complete; (iii) the description of the site selection process used is accurate and complete; (iv) proposed facilities within 10 miles of an environmental justice community have had a cumulative impact analysis of air quality and water quality completed, which took into consideration all available data associated with projected emissions of air pollution, water pollution, and air toxins from the proposed generating facility and other existing industrial and commercial facilities, as well as sources permitted and yet to be constructed; (v) the applicant has sufficiently demonstrated that the proposed generating facility is necessary to meet regional requirements for additional capacity; (vi) the plans for the construction of the proposed generating facility are consistent with current health and environmental protection policies of the commonwealth and with such energy policies as are adopted by the commonwealth for the specific purpose of guiding the decisions of the board; (vii) such plans minimize the environmental impacts consistent with the minimization of costs associated with the mitigation, control, and reduction of the environmental and public health impacts of the proposed generating facility; and (viii) if the petitioner was required to provide information on other fossil fuel generating technologies, the construction of the proposed generating facility on balance contributes to a reliable, low-cost, diverse, regional energy supply with minimal environmental impacts. Where a proposed generating facility would be located within 10 miles of an environmental justice population, the board shall include with its approval a substantive analysis of the generating facility’s potential effects on the environmental justice population, which shall describe all environmental justice factors considered by the board.
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