Legislative efforts to tackle impacts from warehouses, especially in dense urban areas, will continue next year. This time, Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Mike Gianaris, Amazon headquarters slayer extraordinaire, is pushing an additional layer of environmental review for proposed warehouses (S2127). The Queens lawmaker secured support from a key labor union and environmental justice groups to make it a priority in the coming session. The bill isn’t a new one, but the support from Teamsters Local 804, which represents 8,000 UPS workers in New York, could provide momentum for a renewed campaign.
The bill targets warehouses — including last-mile facilities, fulfillment centers and sorting centers — over 50,000 square feet. The Department of Environmental Conservation would issue regulations for a project-by-project review of warehouses and measures to reduce their emissions, including those from the trucks and other vehicles serving to shuttle goods to the location and customers. New warehouses would have to get a permit and show they wouldn’t contribute to local smog above national standards. Existing facilities would have to annually report on their operations and comply with new emissions regulations. The department would also issue a report on the potential of zero-emissions zones for delivery vehicles.
“We have fought hard to improve our air quality by enacting the nation-leading CLCPA, fighting fossil fuel power plants, and pushing for more electrification, but we cannot allow those to be stymied by the proliferation of e-commerce warehouses,” Gianaris said in a statement. “We need action now, and that’s why I’m introducing the Clean Deliveries Act to ensure we live up to our environmental commitments.” Gianaris will hold an event at 2 p.m. with supporters of the bill at Red Hook Community Farm. Residents of Red Hook have raised concerns about the growing number of vehicles from new Amazon facilities in the neighborhood. — Marie J. French