SECTION 1. Section 62 of Chapter 30 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting the following definitions after the definition of “Agency”:
“Environmental Justice,” the right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment regardless of race, income, national origin, or English language proficiency. 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 burdens.
"Environmental Benefits," access to funding, open space (including parks, playgrounds, and other outdoor recreational opportunities), enforcement, technical assistance, training, and other beneficial resources disbursed by the executive secretariats and their agencies and offices, and provided by municipalities and regional entities.
“Environmental Burdens,” environmental pollution from industrial, commercial, state, and municipal operations and roadways, contaminated properties, and air, water, and drinking water pollution that is greater than the state average or a violation of federal or state law.
"Environmental Justice Population," a neighborhood that meets one or more of these criteria: a) the annual median household income is equal to or less than 65 percent of the statewide median, b) minorities comprise 25 percent or more of the population, or c) 25 percent or more of households lack English language proficiency. Where a neighborhood does not meet any of those criteria, but a geographic portion of that neighborhood meets at least one of those criteria, the Secretary may designate that geographic portion as an environmental justice population upon petition of at least 10 residents of that geographic portion. The Secretary may remove the environmental justice population designation of a neighborhood that meets one or both of these criteria: a) 25 percent or more of the households lack English language proficiency or b) minorities comprise 25 percent or more of the population, upon a finding that the annual median household income in that neighborhood is greater than 125 percent of the statewide median household income, that a majority of persons of age 25 and above in that neighborhood have at least a college education, and that the neighborhood does not bear an unfair burden of environmental pollution and does not have only limited access to natural resources such as waterfronts, parks and open space, and water resources.
"Equal Protection," that no group of people, because of race, ethnicity, class, gender, or handicap bears an unfair share of environmental pollution from industrial, commercial, state and municipal operations or has limited access to natural resources, including waterfronts, parks and open space, and water resources.
"Lacking English Language Proficiency" refers to households that, according to federal census forms, do not have an adult proficient in English.
"Neighborhood,” a census block group as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau but not including people who live in college dormitories or people under formally authorized, supervised care or custody such as federal or state prisons.
SECTION 2. Section 62B of Chapter 30 of the General Laws is hereby amended by deleting the first sentence of the third paragraph and inserting, in its place, the following sentence:
An environmental impact report shall contain statements describing the nature and extent of the proposed project; potential environmental impacts and public health impacts, resulting from the construction and operation of the proposed project; proposed studies or program of studies designed to evaluate potential environmental impacts and public health impacts; all measures being utilized to minimize environmental damage and public health damage; any adverse short-term and long-term environmental consequences and public health consequences that cannot be avoided should the project be undertaken; and reasonable alternatives to the proposed project and their environmental consequences and public health consequences.
SECTION 3. Section 62B of Chapter 30 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting the following paragraph after the last paragraph:
An environmental impact report shall include an enhanced analysis of impacts and mitigation for any project located in or within one mile of an environmental justice population, and within five miles of an environmental justice population for a project that exceeds an Environmental Notification Form threshold for air. An enhanced analysis shall include, at a minimum, analysis of multiple air impacts; data on baseline public health conditions within the affected environmental justice population; analysis of technological, site planning, and operational alternatives to reduce or eliminate impacts; and proposed on-site and off-site mitigation measures to reduce multiple impacts and increase environmental benefits for the affected environmental justice population and to further environmental justice and equal protection for that population. Such enhanced analysis shall include the cumulative impacts or the project.
SECTION 4. Section 62C of chapter 30 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after the first paragraph, following the word “documents” the following paragraphs:
To enable the public to participate in decisions that affect their health and safety and the environment, the Secretary shall maximize opportunities for public involvement. Such opportunities shall encourage consultation with the public early in the application processes to foster a robust analysis and the active involvement of the interested or affected persons. In cases where the proposed project has the potential to impact an environmental justice population lacking English language proficiency, said environmental impact report shall be in English and in any other language spoken by a significant number of the environmental justice population, describing the proposed facility and its location, the range of potential environmental and health impacts of each pollutant, the application and review process, and a contact person, with phone number and address, from whom information will be available as the application proceeds.
There shall be enhanced public participation for any project located in or within one mile of an environmental justice population, and within five miles of an environmental justice population for a project that exceeds a mandatory Environmental Impact Report threshold for air. Enhanced public participation may include use of alternative media such as community and ethnic newspapers and other media, use of alternative information repositories, and translation of materials or interpretation services prior to and during public meetings where a significant portion of the relevant environmental justice population uses a primary language other than English in their home. When scheduling public meetings, the Secretary shall recommend and may require that project proponents consider the time of the meeting, availability of public transportation, and whether the locations are child-friendly and culturally appropriate. To the extent feasible, meetings should be held in places that community members already routinely use and feel comfortable visiting. Additionally, the Secretary shall recommend that project proponents consider whether outreach efforts should include an educational component to ensure that community members have the information necessary to evaluate a project’s potential impacts.
SECTION 5. Section 62E of Chapter 30 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding, after the first paragraph, the following paragraph:
However, no agency shall exempt any project located in an environmental justice population and reasonably likely to cause damage to the environment, as defined in section 61, from the provisions of sections 62 to 62H, inclusive. This paragraph shall not apply to emergency actions essential to avoid or eliminate a threat to public health or safety, or a threat to any natural resources, undertaken in compliance with section 62F.
SECTION 6. The Secretary shall, not later than 180 days after this act takes effect, promulgate regulations for the requirements, administration, and enforcement of this act.
SECTION 7. To further environmental justice, the Department of Environmental Protection shall establish and maintain a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) bank. Such bank shall maintain an inventory of environmentally beneficial projects in communities with environmental justice populations that may be funded by violators in lieu of or in addition to paying penalties associated with the settlement of enforcement actions. SEPs shall conform to the Department’s policy on Supplemental Environmental Projects, ENF-07.001, as amended. The Department shall establish and maintain a website portal where the public and potential SEP recipients may submit potential SEP projects to be considered for future settlements. For purposes of this provision, a supplemental environmental project is an environmentally beneficial project the implementation of which primarily benefits public health, safety and welfare, and the environment.
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