Wealthy New York villages deemed ‘disadvantaged,’ eligible for increased clean energy funding

However, the CJWG's list includes wealthy villages like Tuckahoe and Shinnecock in the Hamptons, Long Island, raising questions about the criteria for determining disadvantaged communities.

Wealthy New York villages deemed ‘disadvantaged,’ eligible for increased clean energy funding
AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura
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New York state officials have classified multiple high-income villages, including those with million-dollar homes, as "disadvantaged" communities, making them eligible for increased funding for clean energy projects under the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

The Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG), comprising nine environmental justice advocates and four state government officials, released a list of disadvantaged communities in late March as mandated by the 2019 climate act.

The act requires these communities to receive no less than 35% of clean energy program funding. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen Harris praised the CJWG's efforts in ensuring climate justice for underserved communities.

However, the CJWG's list includes wealthy villages like Tuckahoe and Shinnecock in the Hamptons, Long Island, raising questions about the criteria for determining disadvantaged communities.

As reported by Fox News, the median home price in Tuckahoe is $4.2 million, and the town of Southampton, which includes both villages, has a median income of $108,545, significantly higher than the national median income.

Haley Viccaro, a spokesperson for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), defended the state's criteria without specifically addressing the inclusion of Tuckahoe and Shinnecock.

She noted that the CJWG considered 45 indicators, including environmental burdens, climate change risks, population characteristics, and health vulnerabilities.

The working group also expanded the criteria to include 19 census tracts statewide where at least 5% of the land is federally recognized reservation or owned by an Indian Nation, such as the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton.

The decision to classify wealthy New York villages as disadvantaged communities for clean energy funding highlights potential issues in determining eligibility for such programs, both on the state and federal levels.

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