A FedEx shipping center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn
A new bill proposed by members of the New York State Assembly will encourage New York warehouses and distribution centers to reduce air pollution associated with their delivery services.
E-commerce retailers like Amazon have made a profit soar at the height of the pandemic, as more and more consumers ordered goods to be delivered to their homes. But these delivery services contribute to air pollution in low-income communities of color, disproportionately affecting residents of these areas, The city reports.
That could change with a bill introduced Monday in the state Legislature by Congresswoman Marcela Mitaynes, who represents Red Hook and Sunset Park, an area houses several existing or proposed distribution centers.
Under current proposals, the bill would require the New York City Department of Environmental Conservation to designate warehouses and package centers as “indirect sources” of air pollution.
If adopted, the the law would require warehouse operators with facilities over 50,000 square feet to submit air pollution reduction and mitigation plans. Fulfillment centers should publicly report the average number of daily trips using vehicles and delivery routes, as well as agree on measures to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, such as installing solar panels or using electric vehicles.
Facilities would earn points for each measure met. Warehouses would then have to keep their point total above a certain number to avoid penalties.
Additionally, any new large e-commerce site projects in New York should seek a permit demonstrating that the construction and operation of the sites would not violate national air quality standards set by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. the environment. Plans would also be subject to environmental reviews, allowing public input from the local community before permits are issued.
Warehouse space is tight in New York: the city’s industrial vacancy rate was 1.6% in Q4 2021, according to JLL data. While some fear that warehouse operators like Amazon – which specialize in last-mile delivery of goods purchased online to consumers’ homes – could relocate if costs rise, environmental advocates told The City that measures like the Mitaynes bill are the only way to bring NYC toward its goal of drastically reducing emissions by 2050.