In the state of New York, officials have used a recently-passed law regarding “green energy” to categorize wealthy villages lined with million-dollar homes as “disadvantaged” communities, thus allowing them to receive additional state funding.
According to Fox News, the list of disadvantaged communities was compiled and released by the Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG) in late March, based on determinations that were mandated by the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Communities that the law determines to be disadvantaged must receive at least 35 percent of funding from state clean energy programs.
“The final adoption of this criteria solidifies New York State’s commitment to climate justice for those underserved communities most impacted by air pollution and harmful greenhouse gas emissions,” said Doreen Harris, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, on March 27th. “Through its hard work and dedication, the Climate Justice Working Group’s clearly defined guidance will help us realize the equitable distribution of benefits from clean energy investments as together, we combat climate change.”
Among the communities included in the CJWG’s list are the villages of Tuckahoe and Shinnecock, two neighborhoods of the Hamptons on Long Island. In Tuckahoe, the median home price is $4.2 million. In Southampton, where the two villages are located, the median income is $108,545, a staggering 57 percent higher than the national median income.
Shinnecock is also the location of the high-class invite-only Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, one of the most luxurious golf clubs in the nation.
Haley Viccaro, a spokeswoman for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), defended the CJWG’s criteria for determining what makes a disadvantaged community, without addressing the specific locales of Tuckahoe and Shinnecock.
“The disadvantaged communities criteria is based on 45 indicators of environmental burdens and climate change risks and population characteristics and health vulnerabilities,” said Viccaro. “The data for these indicators are based on peer-reviewed datasets that are available on a census tract level and applicable statewide.”